Davis Cup Weekend Preview

Posted by Brodie under: Uncategorized

16 Sep 2010

France vs. Argentina

Palais des Sports de Gerland, Lyon
Stadium Capacity: 5,910
17 September – 19 September 2010
Day 1: 13.30 hrs (11.30 hrs GMT)
Day 2: 15.00 hrs (13.00 hrs GMT)
Day 3: 13.00 hrs (11.00 hrs GMT)
Surface: Hard (Gerflor Masters 1000) – Indoors

R1 – M.LLODRA (FRA) v. J.MONACO (ARG)
R2 – G.MONFILS (FRA) v. D.NALBANDIAN (ARG)
R3 – A.CLEMENT / M.LLODRA (FRA) v. E.SCHWANK / H.ZEBALLOS (ARG)
R4 – G.MONFILS (FRA) v. J.MONACO (ARG)
R5 – M.LLODRA (FRA) v. D.NALBANDIAN (ARG)

PICO! Ahem…

Really, a fantastic tie that is going to feature some great match-ups and some close matches.

There are a lot of questions going into this tie. No Jo (again) and no Richie or Jules. This means that the Frenchies will call on Clement to play with Llodra for their doubles, likely a far less effective team compared to the Jules/Llodra team that won the clincher against Spain in the quarters. Other questions? Which Gael is going to show up? Will Nalby last 5 sets? How is Pico’s health?

These questions are actually quite answerable (is that a word? It is now) in my eye. Gael is a different beast in Davis Cup. Don’t expect any stupid backwards tweeners. Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed, he feeds off the crowd… and the crowd is going to be basically entirely French. That doesn’t hurt.

On the other hand, Nalby is also an different beast in Davis Cup. I’ve joked that he’d rather win this trophy than a grand slam one… but that’s not much of a joke. Nalby wants that damn thing, and he wants it before he’s rusted and broken. He’ll show up big time (he always does).

Unfortunately, while Pico gives the Argies the obvious nod in the hotness department, his health and general lack of playing in the past months is what is going to give France the edge before this has even started. On indoor hard courts, behind a French crowd, over five sets… Llodra and Monf are going to feast on poor Pico. Their serves will likely be enough to beat him.

Elsewhere, things are a bit fuzzy. Nalby digs indoor hard courts, they let him turn around pace with zero resistance. He’s also one of the best returners in the game, meaning that Monf and specifically Llodra will get far fewer free points on serve than they would like. Also, it’s friggin’ Nalby in Davis Cup. The dude just comes alive.

I really think the two matches that will make this tie will be Monf/Nalby and the doubles. Nalby should be able to dismantle Llodra, but Pico will probably lose both of his. I think Argentina hold the upper hand on both the other matches, though. Schwank and Zeballos have been dynamite as a team this year, and not just in Davis Cup action (they made the Wimbley QFs and just came off a semis appearance in New York). That’s a huge advantage.

In other words? The defining match may be tomorrow, when Nalby takes on Monf. It should be a fantastic match regardless, don’t miss it.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m way biased, but I think Nalby will squeak those wins out, and the dubs team will come down hard after flying on the US Open high. Argentina in a squeaker, 3-2.

Serbia vs. Czech Republic

Belgrade Arena, Belgrade
Stadium Capacity: 16,842
17 September – 19 September 2010
Day 1: 15.00 hours local time (13.00 hours GMT)
Day 2: 15.00 hours local time (13.00 hours GMT)
Day 3: 14.00 hours local time (12.00 hours GMT)
Surface: Hard (RuKortHard) – Indoors

R1 – N.DJOKOVIC (SRB) v. R.STEPANEK (CZE)
R2 – J.TIPSAREVIC (SRB) v. T.BERDYCH (CZE)
R3 – V.TROICKI / N.ZIMONJIC (SRB) v. J.HAJEK / I.MINAR (CZE)
R4 – N.DJOKOVIC (SRB) v. T.BERDYCH (CZE)
R5 – J.TIPSAREVIC (SRB) v. R.STEPANEK (CZE)

In my eye, there is only one real question for this tie: how is Steps going to do? The guy has only won 8 matches all year and has been nearly useless since returning from his time off. The guy is a Davis Cup hero, but in 5 sets against the home team? The Czechs are going to have a hell of a time against the Serbs.

The interesting thing is that Nole is coming off a pretty long couple of weeks, mentally more than anything, and if Steps can squeak out a singles win, things get a bit more interesting. Berd is totally capable of winning both his matches, which could be the tie. Unfortunately for them, Serbia has a really clear upper hand in the doubles. On a hard court, big serving Zimo and Viktor should take care of business easily.

I like Serbia, 3-2.

The Changeover Podcast:

Episode #56 – Indian Wells Wrap