The start of the ATP Masters Series is scheduled to start next week however, ahead of Indian Wells, there is plenty of Davis Cup action to take place this week. The rubbers for the various ties have been announced and tennis fans will find a listing of them below.
Belgium hosts Switzerland (hard/indoor)
Ruben Bemelmans vs Henri Laaksonen
Steve Darcis vs Michael Lammer
Bemelmans/Desein vs Bossel/Lammer
Steve Darcis vs Henri Laaksonen
Ruben Bemelmans vs Michael Lammer
Tennis fans will notice the absence of Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka on the Swiss side. David Goffin, although listed as a nomination, has been omitted from the Belgian match entrants. Darcis and Bemelmans still give the Belgian side a very strong edge against very low ranked Swiss players.
Prediction: Belgium is good for the win, even without Goffin.
Canada hosts Japan (hard/indoor)
Looking at the match-ups, you have to like Raonic’s chances of opening with a win. Pospisil has a chance against Nishikori but it would still be a major upset for the top Japanese player to lose to Canada’s No. 2. Nestor and Pospisil, both players who have won doubles Grand Slams, should defeat the team of Soeda and Ushiyama. Raonic vs. Nishikori could go either way while Pospisil and Ito should go Canada’s way as well.
Prediction: Canada advances.
Serbia hosts Croatia (hard/indoor)
Novak Djokovic vs Mate Delic
Viktor Troicki vs Borna Coric
Troicki/Zimonjic vs Draganja/Skugor
Novak Djokovic vs Borna Coric
Viktor Troicki vs Mate Delic
Coric might be able to beat Troicki but it is really hard to see where else the Croats will get a win from.
Prediction: Serbia advances.
Argentina hosts Brazil (clay/outdoor)
Carlos Berlocq vs Joao Souza
Leonardo Mayer vs Thomaz Bellucci
Delbonis/Schwartzman vs Melo/Soares
Leonardo Mayer vs Joao Souza
Carlos Berlocq vs Thomaz Bellucci
This could be a very close tie but Mayer is a better player than many give him credit for. While Bellucci has some clay court credentials it’s been a while since his best tennis has been displayed.
Prediction: Argentina advances.
Kazahkstan hosts Italy (hard/indoor)
Mikhail Kukushkin vs Simone Bolelli
Andrey Golubev vs Andreas Seppi
Golubev/Nedovyesov vs Fognini/Lorenzi
Mikhail Kukushkin vs Andreas Seppi
Andrey Golubev vs Simone Bolelli
Kazahkstan host but their talent is thin. Perhaps they are fortunate not to have beat Fognini in two singles matches however Bolelli and Seppi should be tough enough eggs to crack. This is one of the rare match-ups where the visitors appear to be the most likely to win.
Prediction: Italy advances.
Czech Republic hosts Australia (hard/indoor)
Lukas Rosol vs Thanasi Kokkinakis
Jiri Vesely vs Bernard Tomic
Mertl/Pavlasek vs Groth/Hewitt
Lukas Rosol vs Bernard Tomic
Jiri Vesely vs Thanasi Kokkinakis
Both Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek are missing from the Czech side. That redeems Australia’s hopes however the Aussies have two of their singles matches resting with a teenager in Kokkinakis. Tomic was the right choice for the other two matches but Groth or Hewitt would have been better than Kokkinakis.
Prediction: Czech Republic advances.
Great Britain hosts the USA (hard/indoor)
It’s not hard to see how the Brits are going to get two wins in this tie as Andy Murray is slotted for two singles matches. However it is difficult to see where a third match-win might come from as there is no depth to British tennis. Isner and Young both outclass James Ward while the Bryans are the top ranked doubles team in the world. It would be a major upset if they, the Bryans, were to lose to the team of Dominic Inglot and Jamie Murray.
Prediction: USA advances.
Germany hosts France (hard/indoor)
Jan-Lennard Struff vs Gilles Simon
Philipp Kohlschreiber vs Gael Monfils
Becker/Begemann vs Benneteau/Mahut
Philipp Kohlschreiber vs Gilles Simon
Jan-Lennard Struff vs Gael Monfils
The French side has the depth while poor Philipp Kohlschreiber is the lone German player with some experience winning Davis Cup matches. If Germany is to win this tie then they would likely need to win the doubles rubber and hope that Kohlschreiber takes one off of either Simon or Monfils. However even if they are 2-2 heading into the decider, it’s hard to picture Jan-Lennard Struff beating Gael Monfils in the clutch.
The 2015 Davis Cup first round matches take place on March 6th, 7th, and 8th.