By: Craig Simpkin
The pinnacle of ‘team tennis’ gets underway again today with the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup.
Australia are already up against it in their last eight rubber against Kazakhstan, with both Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis losing their singles ties against Aleksandr Nedovyesov and Mikhail Kukushkin respectively. The Aussies will need the pairing of Sam Groth and Lleyton Hewitt to win in the doubles later to send the tie to the last day.
Great Britain against France
The winner of that tie will go on to face the winner of Great Britain against France, which will kick off later at England’s Queens Club. The grass surface will be of great help to the GB pairing of Andy Murray and Jamie Ward, who will both feel at home having enjoyed good runs at Wimbledon, whilst Jamie Murray is one of the finest doubles players on the planet at the moment following his loss with John Peers in that Wimbledon final.
This is a formidable-looking French outfit however, with Gilles Simon and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga taking on the singles and semi-finalist at the All England Club Richard Gasquet pairing up with Nicholas Mahut in the doubles.
The Brits will fancy the job in front of their home crowd however, with Murray enjoying a great head-to-head record against both Tsonga and Simon, leading them 10-3 and 12-2 respectively. So much pressure will be heaped on Ward to win at least one of his singles rubbers, and having beaten John Isner and Sam Querrey in Davis Cup matches he clearly raises his game for the big ones.
With Murray expected to win his two matches in the best-of-five contest, Great Britain are fancied and can be backed from 1.83.
Argentina against Serbia
The Argentines, on home soil, will be led by Leonardo Mayer, who is ranked 22 in the world and has fantastic career record on clay. He will be joined in singles competition by Federico Delbonis, who despite being ranked only 70 in the world is something of a clay court fan; having won two Challenger Tour events on the surface in 2015 alone.
Serbia’s pairing will prove no pushovers, however. Fillip Krajinovic won last week’s Braunschweig Challenger event on clay in Germany, whilst Victor Troicki, who is more of a grass court specialist, is ranked 20 in the world and can clearly get the job done.
Even so, you’d have to fancy Argentina on home soil, and their price of 1.44 reflects that.
Belgium against Canada
The absence of the Canadian duo of Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil through injury makes Belgium the hot favourites for this tie in front of their own adoring faithful, and gives them a great chance to reach their first Davis Cup semi since 1999.
The loss of Raonic and Pospisil leaves Frank Dancevic as Canada’s highest-ranked player – at 272 in the world. His partner, Filip Peliwo, is a cool 491 in the world.
The Belgian pair of David Goffin and Steve Darcis is handy, with Goffin in particular catching the eye. He is world-ranked 14 and improving all the time; and thus should win both his singles rubbers with ease.
The Belgium, Argentina and Great Britain treble pays out at 2.75.