The Davis Cup World Group quarter-finals get underway today and top-seeds and defending champions France face a potentially tricky away tie against an experienced Italy team, which is played outdoors on clay. France are without most of their big names and Pouille is their highest ranked player, but they still have bags of experience with Chardy their other singles player and Mahut and Herbert for the doubles rubber on Saturday. Italy have two experienced veterans in Seppi and Fognini for their singles rubbers and veterans Bolleli and Lorenzi for the doubles rubber tomorrow.
A depleted Belgium, who are missing Goffin and Darcis their main singles rubbers players, face a tough away tie against the USA who can boast a stellar line-up of stars like Sock, Isner, Querrey, Johnson, Tiafoe and Fritz to pick from for the singles rubbers and the Brian brothers for the doubles. Belgium have punched above their weight in the competition the last few seasons and star man Goffin has played a big part in their success, but as he is absent due to injury on this occasion, as well as veteran Darcis, this must hand a big advantage to the USA who should progress to the semi-finals.
New world number one Rafa Nadal returns to the Davis Cup for Spain this weekend, much to the delight of his team and adoring fans, and they face a decent Germany team in Valencia outdoors on clay. Veteran Ferrer and NextGen sensation Alexander Zverev and Nadal and Kohlschreiber play the opening singles rubbers today and Spain look to have the better doubles pairing with Lopez and Lopez against Puetz and Struff tomorrow. On paper Spain should win this with Nadal back in the fold, but he’s not played much this year due to injury and with Zverev more than capable of beating both Nadal and Ferrer on clay the end score-line could be quite close.
The final tie is between fourth seeds Croatia and the experienced Kazakhstan and its being played in Varazdin, Croatia indoors and with world number three Cilic and NextGen sensation Coric lining up for the singles and experienced doubles pairing of Dodig and Mektic the chances for Kazakhstan don’t look good, especially as they play their best tournament tennis on home soil. From a Davis Cup Tournament betting perspective, I like the look of Croatia’s (15/4) chances this season as Cilic and Coric are in such good form and the two could easily propel them to win a first Cup since their inaugural one back in 2005.