DAVIS CUP FINALS: It is time for the players to put on their international colours as they represent their nations in the Davis Cup yet again following September’s group stage. Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Serbia were the teams to advance. Here we will take a look at some of the key players and matches from this year’s Davis Cup Finals.
Italians looking to end the 47-year Davis Cup drought
Team Italy will be looking for revenge following this group stage, after Canada eliminated them in the semifinals last year, both of whom have since progressed to the quarterfinals on opposite sides of the draw in this year’s knockout stage.
Lorenzo Musetti, who looks to be one of the brightest young stars in tennis at the moment, could be the man to lead them to their first victory since 1976. Musetti got a tough draw in the group stages against USA world number ten, Taylor Fritz, but will be looking to improve in the knockouts.
The Italians face off against Netherlands in the quarterfinals, who topped group D by beating Finland and the USA, losing only to Croatia, who did not manage to escape the group stage. Fabio Fognini, Simone Bolelli, and Lorenzo Sonego make up the rest of the team and have been playing out of their skin in this competition.
Despite preparations being hampered by injuries to both Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini, clearly this Italian team is a force to be reckoned with.
Great Britain to face-off against Serbia
The Great Britan squad looks a well-balanced one following their performances in the group stages with three wins from three, topping their group. The Brits clearly came here with the extra motivation of failing to qualify from their group last year so won’t want to be leaving the tournament earlier than expected for the second year running.
In the quarterfinals, the Brits will come up against the Serbian team, led by 24-Grand Slam champion and world number one, Novak Djokovic who was instrumental when the two nations faced-off in 2006. Novak has expressed his intentions this year, as the Davis Cup is a priority for him moving forward and will be looking to add another bit of silverware from this competition to put next to his title back in 2010.
Serbia, with four players ranked inside the top 60, managed to reach the knockouts ahead of Spain, who were tipped to easily progress in this competition. The Czechs were victorious in Group C and will go against Group B’s runners up, Australia, to continue their hot streak.
USA’s failure to dominate group D
Arguably the biggest shock in the group stages was USA failing to qualify for the knockout stage. On paper, USA looked to be the strongest team but didn’t have what it took to overcome the Dutch and Finnish teams. Group D did not look the strongest as Croatia, Finland and Netherlands had just one top 50 singles player between them.
The Netherlands team, headed up by world number 23 Tallon Griekspoor, exited the group stages victorious and have the challenge of Italy in the first stage of the knockouts. Finland, the Group D runners up, find themselves in the quarterfinals against Canada who are looking extremely strong having dominated their group winning all three matches, 8-1 in total. This will certainly be a test for the Finnish team, but given their performances in the group stage, I wouldn’t hold your breath as we’ve had plenty of upsets already in the competition.