With the last Grand Slam Tournament of the Season behind us, it is time to turn our attention to the Davis Cup. The semifinals are this weekend and the United States will battle Spain in one of them.
With the injury to Rafael Nadal and the retirement of Andy Roddick, the landscape has changed somewhat for both teams. However, Nadal did not play against Austria. Spain will feature the same team as in their last round.
The United States will go to battle with John Isner and Sam Querrey in singles and Bob and Mike Bryan in doubles.
Meanwhile, Spain will pit David Ferrer and Nicholas Almagro in singles with Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in doubles against the Americans.
On paper, it appears like a very even match up. Ferrer, who made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Open this weekend is 5th in the World in singles with Almagro 12th. Isner is 10th in the World with Querrey 28th. Querrey could easily be higher had he not missed significant time last year and is just now resuming to the level of play prior to his injury.
The Bryan Brothers, fresh off of the U.S. Open doubles Championship, should have the advantage in doubles but it is a clash in styles in singles. With Isner and Querrey, you have two of the biggest servers in the game who rely on their power. Ferrer is quick, hustles around the court and at the age of 30, looks to have endless energy working the baseline. Almagro is more of a power player than Ferrer, particularly with his big baseline strokes.
With Isner losing earlier in the U.S. Open and admittedly tired, the early departure may have done Jim Courier's squad a favor. Ferrer fought his way to Saturday with marathon matches into week 2 of the U.S. Open.
Spain will host the semifinals giving them the home court advantage.
In the other semifinal, Czech Republic faces Argentina. Two players who had great runs at the U.S. Open will headline their respective teams. Tomas Berdych for the Czech Republic and Juan Martin Del Potro for Argentina. Berdych is playing the best tennis of his career of late while Del Potro looks to be completely back from injury based on recent performance.
Juan Monaco will play singles with Del Potro while Carlos Berlocq and Eduardo Schwank will play doubles. Radek Stepanek joins Berdych in singles for the Czech Republic with Lukas Rosol and Ivo Minar playing doubles.
Much like the U.S.-Spain match up, this looks to be a very equal competition as well. Both Berdych and Del Potro will have a weeks rest from the fortnight in New York and Argentina has home court.
With players playing for their Country, history has shown that anything can happen in Davis Cup. This weekend looks to be a very exciting weekend that will set up the Davis Cup Finals in November.
(photo courtesy of B20180)