It may be just days since the last Slam of the year came to its dramatic conclusion but the big names are back in action this weekend as the semi-finals of the Davis Cup take place
Davis Cup Semi Final Preview
Defending Davis Cup Champions, Spain will take on this year’s surprise package,
the USA, whilst last year’s
runners-up, Argentina will
face the Czech Republic.
Spain vs. USA
Spain has won the Davis Cup three times in
the last four years and five times in total. However, this year they will have
to negotiate the semi-final hurdle without their biggest star, Rafa Nadal.
Having not played since his Wimbledon defeat
in June, Rafa has missed both the Olympics and US Open events. If Spain can make
it through to the final, the hope is that they will have their top player back
in the ranks.
Spain has the huge advantage of playing
this event in their own country. It’s on the clay, so despite being without
Nadal, it’s easy to see why the tennis bookmakers have them as the big
favourites to win this contest.
The Spanish team is made up of David Ferrer
and Nicolas Almagro who will compete in the singles rubbers, along with Marcel
Granollers and Marc Lopez who’ll be teaming up for the doubles rubber. Both
Ferrer and Almagro are masters of the clay and will be confident of winning the
three rubbers they’ll need to guarantee victory for the Spanish.
The USA will be hoping to spring a surprise
though. And having already defeated both Switzerland and France on route to the
semi finals, who’s to say they won’t cause another big upset this weekend.
The Tennis World was shocked when John Isner overcame current
world no.1, Roger Federer to defeat the Swiss in the opening round. Despite
being given very little chance against the French on the Monte Carlo clay,
Isner again became the hero, winning both his rubbers.
As always, it’ll be the Bryan brothers who
take on the doubles rubber this weekend. The Spanish pairing was been beaten in
Austria in the last round, it is unlikely they will be able to overcome the
best doubles pairing in the world.
Even on clay, you have to expect the Bryans to take the doubles rubber for the USA. That would
leave John Isner and Sam Querrey needing to win a singles rubber each.
Looking at Ferrer’s recent form, it’s
difficult to see him losing either of his rubbers. The Spaniard seems to only
ever be beaten on clay by Nadal, and unless he suffers a hangover from the
exertions which saw him reach the semi-finals of the US Open last weekend,
you’d have to expect him to notch up a couple of points.
That would bring the tie down to how the
two Americans do against Nicolas Almagro. If they were playing in the US on hard
courts, I’d give them every chance of success, however Almagro has been playing
consistently well this year and is highly unlikely to lose both rubbers on this
At 1/5 to win the tie, there’s clearly not
a lot of value in backing the Spanish. 9/2 for the USA is much more tempting; however
it’s a big gamble and for me, the two big serving Americans just won’t quite
have what it takes to win the couple of singles rubbers they’ll need.
Argentina v Czech Republic
This match-up promises to be a more evenly
balanced contest. But last year’s runners up, Argentina will be confident of
making a second successive Davis Cup Final. Unfortunately for Argentina, they
have been to four finals across their history but are yet to lift the Davis
The match takes place in Buenos Aires on clay courts and both Juan
Martin Del Potro and Juan Monaco will be supremely confident of coming through
their singles rubbers. They will meet Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek, but
whilst Berdych is always capable of producing a big result on the clay, it’s
less likely that Stepanek will be able to back up any Berdych success.
Rafa Nadal’s Wimbledon conqueror, Lukas
Rosol will form the Czech
partnership with Ivo Minar, whilst they’ll face Carlos Berloq and Eduardo
Schwank on the other side of the net.
The Czechs defeated Serbia in the last round, but were without world
no.2, Novak Djokovic whilst Argentina
and the hard hitting Ivo Karlovic.
Argentina can be backed at 5/11 to win the tie and the Czech Republic
at 17/11. Personally I see this as a straight forward Argentina win and would
probably be tempted to lump them in with Spain for a double accumulator this
Cup Winner Odds and Free Tennis Picks:
If you’re looking to back a winner of the
trophy this year, Spain can
be backed at an extremely attractive 6-4, with Argentina the second favourites at
Republic aren’t really tempting me at
7/1, but perhaps a 10/1 punt on the USA could be worth a small risk.