Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Davis Cup World Group Promotion Round Preview and Match Reports

Yes, it’s back after a long break, got to deal with those motivational problems and no going down the pub and sinking a few brews isn’t always the best thing either, but enough of this.

It’s Davis Cup weekend, so as there are playoffs as well World Group semis for the big prize, so I will divide these entries into their respective sections. Because I am too lazy, I will be posting news of the ties in the respective posts, instead of writing new posts, because that requires effort.

Looking at the respective playoff ties, most of these have a very clear favourite, the only differences are the respective surfaces and what the scores will be.

Chile vs. Australia

It’s very disappointing that Hewitt isn’t available for this Davis Cup tie as he has had hip surgery and out for the rest of the season. He loves the team environment, which goes back to his days as a youngster in Adelaide, loving his Aussie rules football, plus he has had some great wins in DC over Guga Kuerten in Florianopolis and Albert Costa in Barcelona. The more hostile the crowd, the more he loves it and missing out here means, he hasn’t had the joy of being the away player in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Spain, where the crowds can get enthusiastic at worst.

Onto the tie, the Chileans will make it back to the World Group, just on the back of Fernando Gonzalez, who can carry a poor Massu, especially with the withdrawal of Hewitt. I wonder if Gildemeister will play Capdeville against the Gooch on Day 1 or will he stick with Massu.

The Aussies have a depleted team, with “Big Red” Guccione leading the team, sure he doesn’t mind a claycourt, but he’d would rather it be 2000m+ above sea level. Peter Luczak coming back after a stress fracture with the pelvis and not having much tennis in his system is another drawback for them in addition to the hostile environment.

The doubles will be funny with Gonzo and Massu slapping groundies from the baseline and”Big Red” with the “Blond Bomber” Sam Groth doing everything but hitting groundies.

Chile will win this easily, unless disqualified, but it will be a good experience for the Aussies.

UK vs. Austria

This won’t be pretty for the Austrians, though in Melzer and Peya they have two cats who don’t mind the grass courts, but both have an aversion to winning big matches, especially Melzer in Davis Cup.

Koubek is a big loss for the Austrian team, even on grass, because he has the capability of winning a match, at the same time he can lose to anyone anytime, get well soon Stef.

The British team has 2 Scots and a Serb, then again if it was all English, then they wouldn’t make the World Group consistently. Andy Murray should win his matches comfortably and if the Austrians get it to a live match on the 3rd day, then they will have done well.

Switzerland vs. Belgium

Superman Federer decides to pull on his cape and save Switzerland from going back through the playoffs again. He has done this many times before, last year it came unstuck against the Czechs and it was great that it did, maybe not for the Swiss tennis.

It would be good if he actually would play the 1st round matches of the World Group, but lets see what happens with that. No excuse about Wawrinka not being a good enough number 2 player, in fact he is the real Swiss #1 according to the masses.

The Belgians are just going over to Lausanne for a holiday, bring back some quality cheese and then they show the Swiss Frenchies how to make proper beer, that will be the best they can hope for.

Switzerland back in the World Group, but a guess whether big Fed will do something rare and play a 1st round match.

Croatia vs. Brazil

This is a good way for the Brazilian players to earn some more frequent flyer points with the trip to Zadar. It’s very generous of the Croats to host them there instead of Zagreb. It’s a nice walled city on the coast, they should be able to enjoy the off court action though not exactly about on court.

No doubt the Croats will have a very slick and fast surface to favour their tall timber in Karlovic, Ancic (if he plays) and Cilic. The best chance the Brazilians have of winning a match in Zadar is through the doubles with Melo and Sa.

The Croat fans should be prepared for the loud decibels of the Thiago Alves grunt, hope it doesn’t shatter the windows of homes in Bosnia and Montenegro, not sure if they have their windows double glazed. It will be interesting to see the mishits on the Bellucci groundstrokes with the ball coming through low and fast.

Israel vs. Peru

Peru will need Lucho to be at his very best to have a chance in this tie, especially as Chino Miranda has been ill lately and not had the match practice, though with his killer slice he isn’t afraid of the hardcourts. In addition to this Lucho has been in average form, but he lifts for Davis Cup and this is what is left in the 2008 season for him.

Dudi Sela, small in height, but big on courage really should get 2 wins here and the Erlich/Ram combination should be too solid for the Peruvians who will be brave, but ultimately outgunned, it would be good to be proven wrong.

Netherlands vs. Korea

The Dutch back to the WG in this one, sure Lee is a very seasoned and tough customer with calves like medicine balls, but it won’t be enough to get over the Dutchies, Huge preview there, but sometimes less is more.

Romania vs. India

This has the potential to be the sleeper tie of these play offs. The lack of Andrei Pavel is a big setback for the Romanians, with his experience in these situations, it would have been easier for the Romanians. Now Hanescu has the responsibility of getting the team through to the WG.

While clay is definitely not the Indians best surface, they have the youngster Somdev Devvarman who doesn’t mind playing on the clay and has been in good form this season. He is very steady and consistent, and I’d back him in a live 5th rubber to win it for India. As per usual Day 1 will be the key in this tie, especially if Somdev can upset Hanescu.

Slovakia vs. Serbia

The Serbs will be the only away team to win a tie during this weekend. They have a better all round team and not sure if even some Hrbaty heroics can stop the Serbs this time around from making the World Group.

Hopefully there are some close ties, this weekend, but the majority of them will more than likely be completed by the end of the doubles.


wow... this clay is fast said...

australia are gooooone... rafter won the old fella's tournament in graz the other day... it was on clay... he beat up stich and stich is better than a fully fit massu...!

bring back rafter...

ahh... we're gone...

good stuff solid...

Denys said...

Excellent read as per usual. The Aussies definitely have it tough and it might be possible that Bernie Tomic could play.

Difficult for Luczak, after coming back from the pelvis injury.

The Slovaks can maybe send some hot women and spice the drinks of the Serb players.