Here's the ScoreJuly 21, 2016
There were lots of action during the weekend, as the Davis Cup was underway. The eight winners of the Zonal Group I final round ties were determined, which would compete against the eight losing teams in the World Group first round ties last March. The winners will advance to the World Group next year.
Chile and Colombia contested one of the spots at Iquique, Chile, where sandstorm caused the tie to be postponed for another day. Santiago Giraldo was unhappy with the conditions, walking off the court after trailing Gonzalo Lama in the first reverse singles match. The default gave Chile an insurmountable 3-1 lead, joining Brazil, India, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan in the playoffs this September. Australia has a good chance of retaining its place in the World Group if the playoff will be held at home. Otherwise, the young squad must be wary of playing Brazil and Spain. Th tie will likely be held on clay. Not that Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic can't win a match on dirt, but their games are more suited on hard courts.
It would be the quarterfinal ties in the World Group that provided the drama during the weekend, though. All visiting teams advanced to the semifinals. It surprised fans, as the home court often gave advantage to the home team. In the case of the American squad, they let go of the 2-0 lead. Marin ÄŒiliÄ‡ was the hero for the Croatian team, as he was a last-minute replacement in the crucial doubles match. He teamed up with Ivan Dodig, beating the Bryan Brothers in four sets. The first reverse singles match saw ÄŒiliÄ‡ getting ahead of John Isner first (and prevailing in straight sets). Borna Ä†oriÄ‡, 19 years of age, defeated Jack Sock in four sets to seal the victory. The Croatians would next meet the French squad, which dealt the Czech side a stinging loss in their own backyard.
Great Britain played without Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, as he was cheering for his teammates from the sidelines. Kyle Edmond was the hero of the British squad, beating a depleted Serbian team at 3-1. The defending champion will host Argentinians, who prevailed over the Italians at Pesaro, Italy.
Which teams will advance to the finals? Let's do a head-to-head analysis:
vs. Croatia. The Croatians will choose the indoor hard court, which will suit ÄŒiliÄ‡'s big-serving game. French captain Yannick Noah has a dilemma. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lost his last four matches to ÄŒiliÄ‡, the last one would be the quarterfinals of the 2015 US Open. Richard Gasquet has a 2-1 edge over ÄŒiliÄ‡, but the latter bested the former in the round of 16 of the Indian Wells Masters last March. GaÃ«l Monfils won their only head-to-head match, but it took place seven years ago. As Roger Federer had shown, ÄŒiliÄ‡'s game could wobble during the latter stage of a five setter. Although Noah would base his selection on the result of the North American hardcourt season, he would likely choose Tsonga to lead the charge. The 2008 Australian Open finalist was the winner in the third-round marathon match against Isner, but he must have a solid service game as well. Noah might pick Lucas Pouille for the second singles match, who can give Ä†oriÄ‡ a run for his money. Both are future stars of the ATP Tour, and many fans see Lleyton Hewitt in Pouille. As for the doubles, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut have won more matches than other doubles players this season. Noah will likely retain the players who competed in TÅ™inec, Czech Republic. It will be France over Croatia (3-2).
Great Britain vs. Argentina. Leon Smith's charges will enjoy the home court advantage, but don't count on Murray to play in the semifinals. His second Wimbledon title gave him a mathematical chance of overtaking Novak Djokovic before the end of the season. He must defend his Rogers Cup title (in Toronto) and Olympic gold medal (in Rio). And then the US Open. He must have good results in the Asian swing and the Europe indoor court season in able to catch up with Djokovic. Daniel Orsanic's charges would fancy the faster courts. Moreover, Juan MartÃn del Potro was showing flashes of his old self during the last few months. Great Britain will prevail over Argentina (3-1).
A finals tie between Great Britain and France will be a grudge match after the French side lost to the Britons in the quarterfinals in London last year. The Frenchmen were the favourites, but Murray played three matches in three days (and won them all). Will it be a different outcome? Let's see. As for the playoffs, the draw hasn't been done yet. Let's hope that the Australian squad will play at home.
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