Shortly after Wimbledon, tennis action resumed at Newport USA, where several stars are participating in an ATP250 event. But more importantly, this week will witness 2015 Davis Cup World Group quarter-finals with matches between Great Britain vs. France in London’s Queens Club, Australia vs. Kazakhstan at Darwin, Argentina vs. Serbia at Buenos Aires and Belgium vs. Canada at Middelkerke. While the GBR-France and Australia-Kazakhstan ties will be played on grass, the other two quarterfinals will be fought on clay courts. The Davis Cup QF action begins on July 17 and concludes on 19th. Here is a preview of the upcoming Davis Cup matches at different venues.
Great Britain vs. France
London’s prestigious Queen’s Club will host the 21st meeting between the European neighbors. GBR holds an 11-9 head-to-head record against France and that includes a 6-4 edge on grass. Interestingly, however, GBR have failed against France in Davis Cup over the last 37 years with the last win coming up in 1978, when John Lloyd and Buster Mottram gave them a 3-2 victory at Roland Garros. But 2015 may be different as GBR have players like Andy Murray, who is in top form and Jammie Murray the losing finalist at Wimbledon. In addition, James Ward also made it to the men’s singles third round at Wimbledon. That should give GBR Davis Cup captain Leon Smith a lot of confidence. Nonetheless, France is also a strong side represented by Arnaud Clement and Richard Gasquet, who have enjoyed good 2015 grass-court season. Gasquet produced his career best show recently and Nicolas Mahut was the doubles title winner at Queen’s Club three weeks ago. With Murray featuring in two singles matches and Jammie coming in doubles, GBR enjoy a slight edge over France.
In the Australian city of Darwin, the hosts will attempt to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2006. But Kazakhstan is quite capable of causing unforeseen upsets. It will be the first time that the two teams meet each other in Davis Cup history but Kazakhstan come to the tie after defeating last year’s semi-finalist Italy in the first round. Australian captain Wally Masur has a combination of youth and experience with old war-horse Lleyton Hewitt playing along with the fiery Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis. Australia also have the big-serving Sam Groth, who took a set away from Roger Federer at 2015 Wimbledon. Kazakhstan captain Dias Doskarayev has three 28-year old players in Mikhail Kukushkin, Aleksandr Nedovyesov and Andrey Golubev. In addition, the squad includes 18 year-old Dmitry Popko, who could play his maiden Davis Cup match. Australia seem to have the home advantage and possibly an edge over the Kazakhs.
Argentina vs. Serbia
In Buenos Aires, Argentina will host 2010 champions Serbia, who will be without their main star Novak Djokovic. Argenitna’s top star Juan Martin del Potro is still in the injury mode and he will be missed as well. Argentina defeated Serbia in 2011, when Djokovic retired mid-match against del Potro. The upcoming tie looks evenly poised as both teams have their plus and minus points equally balanced. The indoor clay surface gives an edge to players on both sides. Though Serbia have made it to the semifinals three times in the last 5 years; that is no guarantee for their victory in the next tie. On the players, Serbia’s top man will be Viktor Troicki, while Argentina boasts of the mercurial Leonardo Mayer.
Belgium vs. Canada
The fourth quarterfinal will be played on outdoor clay surface of the Belgian town of Middelkerke. The Canadians enjoy a 1-0 head-to-head lead against Belgium but that victory came 102 years ago on the neutral English soil. Belgium had reached their last Davis Cup final in 1999 while Canada made it to the last four in 2013, when they beat Spain and Italy before falling to Serbia. David Goffin is Belgium’s top star, on whom all home hopes will hinge. Besides Goffin, Belgium will also play Steve Darcis and Ruben Bemelmans. The fourth Belgian Kimmer Coppejans is world no.102. As far Canada, they will miss the firepower of world no.8 Milos Raonic and no. 29 Vasek Pospisil. The weakened Canadians will be represented by world no.272 Frank Dancevic and little known Filip Peliwo. The absence of Canada’s best players yields a huge advantage to Belgium, who will also benefit from playing on the home soil.