I’m not going to run down every single Davis Cup tie in the World Group, as there are eight in total and a lot of uneven match-ups. Instead I’ll run down the ones I think are most promising, including the Canada/Mexico tie.
Sweden vs. Russia
While Russia is often assumed to be a powerhouse in international competitions, both on the men’s and women’s side, without Kolya and Youzhny, the Russian side is seriously lacking star power. The curious thing is that outside of Soderling, Sweden’s singles hopes fall upon a player ranked 750th in singles. One would have to assume that this contest will likely come down to the doubles to decide things. Personally, I like the Swedish team of Aspelin/Lindstedt. I’ll take Sweden in this one, 3-2.
In what promises to be a massive, indoor serve fest, Germany travel to Croatia to take on the hometown favourites. At this time, it’s difficult to know how Germany will play things with Pesky Petz, a solid singles player but also a fantastic doubles player. I wouldn’t be surprised if they split the singles between him and veteran Mayer, and give the remaining two to their highest ranked singles player Kohlschreiber. Croatia will almost surely counter with Marin and Ivo, who make up quite a wall of serving power. I like Germany for the doubles, but Croatia to pull it out 3-2 overall.
The Canadians once again head south to the heat near the equator for another Davis Cup clay battle, this time with Mexico. This time they have a new hope in Milos Raonic. The obvious problem arises, however, in that clay will seriously dampen the effects of his big serve, and the general tennis universe has yet to see how well he can do on clay, or how he will play. That being said, Canada also has grinders Peter Polansky and a rejuvenated Frank Dancevic, and veteran doubles beast Daniel Nestor. Mexico’s lineup comes off as rather thin, with no player ranked above 400 in singles. I won’t predict the outcome, as it’s tough to call without knowing who will get the nod in singles for Canada, but I really do like our chance to advance to play Ecuador.
WTA – Kuala Lumpur (International)
This is a pretty solid line-up in Malaysia, considering it is in Asia and the week before Indian Wells. Other notable names include Lucie, Dinara, and Bojana “Bojangles” Jovanovski, who has been playing incredibly well lately. Well enough, in fact, that she’s the 8th seed in Kuala Lumpur. The tournament kicks off with a bang, featuring a Schiavone/Dokic clash in the first round.
WTA – Monterrey (International)
JJ jumps across the ocean after a strong showing in Doha to the courts of Mexico, a week ahead of her title defense in Indian Wells. Again, a solid line-up with Anastasia and Aravane, and it also features young talent Polona Hercog.
Just a quick note. Unlike the other Mexican tournament in Acapulco, and similar tournaments that have been happening in the western hemisphere, Monterrey is in fact on hard courts.