ATP Tour: BNP Paribas Davis Cup Quarter-Finals Preview

Tennis player stands with racquet in hand

Our tennis writer previews the quarter-finals of the 2018 BNP Parisbas Davis Cup with matches set to take place between 6 April and 8 April.

Italy vs France

Valletta Cambiaso ASD, Genova, Italy- Clay- Outdoor
Defending Champions France will be travelling to Italy for the first time in the competition since 1977. It will be the 10th Davis Cup meeting between the two nations, with France only once emerging victorious on Italian soil: which was way back in 1927 in Rome. Italy will be looking to reach the World Group semi-final for just the second time since their runner-up appearance in 1998; they also reached the final four back in 2014. France beat Italy the last time they met in Nantes, and they are looking to book a semi-final berth for their third consecutive year. But this could be a trickier proposition for France than initially expected.

France will be without the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet this week, though Yannick Noah will still be able to boast a formidable squad. World Number 10 Lucas Pouille leads a side that includes Adrian Mannarrino and the hugely talented Pierre-Hughes Herbert. The experienced pair of Jeremy Chardy and Nicolas Mahut complete the squad. But the Italian side have some seriously talented players and will be playing in front of a passionate crowd. World Number 18 Fabio Fognini leads the side while both Pablo Lorenzi and Andreas Seppi are inside the World’s top 65.

Verdict: Italy to win 3-2

Spain vs Germany

Plaza de Toros de Valencia, Valencia, Clay- Outdoor 
This probably looks like the tie of the round, with Rafael Nadal and Alex Zverev headlining a blockbuster line-up. Spain host a resurgent German side for the 17th time in the tournament’s history- the first since 2014. Germany won in Frankfurt four years ago, but Spain have certainly been the ascendant side in the last period. Germany have not reached the semi-finals in 11 years, while Spain were the runners-up in 2012, though this last little period has been somewhat disappointing.

Spain will be buoyed by the return of clay-court demigod and World Number One Rafael Nadal. Add to that the extremely consistent pair of Roberto Bautista-Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta, and you can see how talented Sergi Bruguera’s side is- not to mention the veterans Feliciano Lopez and David Ferrer. Alex Zverev will be looking to give the Germans some hope of an upset, while World Number 31 Phillip Kohlschreiber has been in tremendous form over the last two months. But the likes of Struff and Marterer don’t instil too much belief in a concerted German charge, particularly on the clay.

Verdict: Spain to win 4-1

Croatia vs Kazakhstan

Varazdin Arena, Varazdin, Croatia- Clay- Indoor
This is an intriguing one which- though rudimentary for the mighty Croats on the surface- could result in one of the biggest surprises in the event’s history. World rankings often become obsolete in these team events, and Kazakhstan have certainly fostered a strong team unity, seeing them through to their fifth quarterfinal appearance.

Dias Doskarayev will just feel proud of the fact that he has got his team this far. This is really a team that is more than the sum of their parts: Mikhail Kukushkin is their highest ranked player in the World Rankings at 83. Youngster Dimitry Popko represents the future of a side that has it all to do this week. Zeljko Klajan has the luxury of having World Number 3 Marin Cilic in his line-up, while Borna Coric is perhaps the most exciting emerging player on tour over the last month. Ivan Dodig is also there to provide experience in a tie that should prove quite straightforward for the Croatian squad.

Verdict: Croatia to win 4-1

USA vs Belgium

Curb Event Centre, Nashville, USA- Hard- Indoor
This will be the first meeting between these two countries since 2005, where America emerged victorious in Leuven. The States lead the head-to-head record between the two sides 4-0, with victories in 53, 57, 98 and 05. But Belgium have emerged as a potent force in Davis Cup tennis in recent years, reaching the Davis Cup Final in two of the last three years, losing to France in last year’s Final.

The Belgiuns have been rocked by the withdrawal of David Goffin due to an injured eye. It would have been an uphill struggle for Johan Van Herek’s side regardless, but now it looks like a 5-0 score-line is the likeliest result. All five of America’s players are inside the world’s top 60 players. John Isner’s victory in Miami is just the latest in a wave of positive juju surrounding male’s tennis- Jack Sock’s emergence last season being another. Reuben Belelemans was their saviour against Fucsovics last time around, but I can’t see them picking up a point against Jim Courier’s side.

Verdict: USA to win 5-0

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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