2017 Davis Cup World Group: Here's the scoreDecember 01, 2016

John Peers, who made his Davis Cup debut this year, would like Australia's chances in the team event next year. The draw for the opening round was known, and Australia would seem to have a relatively easier passage to the finals. Anything can happen in the Davis Cup, yet the younger Aussie team have been a contender these last few years.

"That's the biggest thing I feel that most countries that have successful players, they push numbers through and they really work hard together. That's the biggest thing we're starting to do right now," Peers said.

Peers teamed up with Sam Groth in the playoffs last September. Australia swept aside Slovakia (5-0). As past results have shown, the team that wins the doubles rubber will win the tie. Peers and Henri Kontinen capped a fine season by winning the BNP Paribas Masters and ATP World Tour Finals last month. They will likely be the fourth seed in the Australian Open, one of the favourites to lift the men's doubles trophy. Australia last won the Davis Cup in 2003. Lleyton Hewitt, the Australian Davis Cup captain, could see the drought coming to an end soon. But the Aussie squad must overcome its first hurdle on February 3.

Let's see how the opening round will turn out:

Argentina (1) vs. Italy. Argentina, the defending champion, has nine players in the Top 100. Juan Martin del Potro capped his amazing comeback by entering the Top 50 last summer. Argentina will play host to Italy. The home team will wrap up the tie after the second day. Fabio Fognini can pull an upset if he's really serious about his recent tweet. It's Argentina over Italy (4-1).

Croatia (2) vs. Spain. The outcome of this tie will depend on a number of factors. Can Marin Čilić play in top form for three consecutive days? His performance in Melbourne might influence the result. (If makes it to the semifinals or finals, then fatigue can affect his performance in the Davis Cup.) Will Borna Ćorić be fit and healthy next February? How will Čilić and Ivan Dodig fare against Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez? The Spaniards may have preferred the clay court, but they can pose a threat on the indoor hard court. Don't expect Nadal to join his teammates. It will be Croatia over Spain (3-2).

Great Britain (3) vs. Canada. This will be an interesting tie. The British squad will visit Ottawa. Andy Murray will likely join his teammates, but he might cheer from the sidelines. Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil might delight the home fans (and represent Canada). And they will see another thrilling match between Murray and Raonic. It will come down to the crucial doubles rubber, where Pospisil and Daniel Nestor will square off against the Murray brothers. Canada could win this one if Raonic learned from his heartbreaking loss in London. Otherwise, it's Great Britain over Canada (3-2).

Czech Republic (4) vs. Australia. Is Tomáš Berdych willing to travel to Oz again? What happened last spring would be good enough for an answer. It's Australia over Czech Republic (4-1).

Switzerland (5) vs. The United States. Neither Roger Federer nor Stan Wawrinka will travel to Birmingham after the Australian Open. And Jim Courier would like it that way. It will be the United States over Switzerland (5-0).

France (6) vs. Japan. Kei Nishikori will play in front of home fans, so expect him to win his singles rubbers. But there's too much depth in the French squad. It will be France over Japan (3-2).

Belgium (7) vs. Germany. The Belgian squad will travel to Frankfurt, and the German team has many options in the singles. (Watch out for Alexander Zverev.) David Goffin might be too good for the Germans, though. It's Germany over Belgium (3-2).

Serbia (8) vs. Russia. It's the experience against youth; Karen Khachanov, one of the promising young players in the ATP Tour, will match his skills (and wit) against veterans Viktor Troicki and/or Janko Tipsarević. Novak Djokovic's form these last six months would put him in doubt. The younger Russians upset the more experienced Spaniards two years ago. Lightning could strike twice. It's Russia over Serbia (3-2).

The quarterfinals feature Argentina against Germany, Australia against the US, France against Great Britain, and Russia against Croatia. Do you have a different prediction? Share it.

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