>> Monday, April 2, 2012
The Davis Cup 2012 quarterfinals will be held later this week, from April 6 (Friday) to April 8 (Sunday). The Spanish Davis Cup team will be hosting Austria at the Marina d'Or, Oropesa del Mar in Castellon, Spain. The French team will be hosting Team USA at the Monte Carlo Country Club in Roquebrune, France. The Czech Davis Cup team will host Serbia at the O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. The only tie outside Europe for the Davis Cup 2012 quarterfinals will be held when the Argentine team will host the Croatian team at Parque Roca in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
SPAIN vs AUSTRIA. Surface: Clay (Red Clay), Outdoor. World #2 Rafael Nadal will be absent but Spain will be led by two players in the top 12 with world #5 David Ferrer and #12 Nicolas Almagro expected to play in the singles matches. Austria doesn't look that strong on paper with world #21 Jurgen Melzer as their top ranked player. Austria surprised a Russian team in the previous round with higher ranked players, but it is difficult to imagine that the defending champions will be losing at home where they are currently holding a Davis Cup record of 22nd consecutive home victories. It is interesting to note that in the four ties the two teams have met, Austria won three times including a 1995 victory when the Austrians were led by former French Open champion Thomas Muster. Spain will move to the next round with a 5-0 victory.
FRANCE vs USA. Surface: Clay (Red Clay), Outdoor. The most surprising result in the Davis Cup 2012 first round was the resounding 5-0 victory by the American team over a Swiss team led by Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka. The tie was held on European clay in Fribourg, Switzerland. This quarterfinal match-up will be perhaps the closest tie in this stage. Each team will have two players in the top 15 with #6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and #14 Gael Monfils leading France and #9 Mardy Fish and #11 John Isner playing singles for Team USA. The Americans will be hoping to split their singles matches to have a chance. Their doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan is currently the world #1 pair and were former French Open champions and would be a strong favorite to win the doubles rubber. Look for France to sneak into the semifinals with a come from behind 3-2 victory over the Americans.
CZECH REPUBLIC vs SERBIA. Surface: Clay (Red Clay), Indoor. World #1 Novak Djokovic will not be representing Serbia in the Davis Cup 2012 quarterfinal and this may actually spell out the difference in the 11th meeting between the Czech Republic and Serbia. The Czech team will be anchored by world #7 Tomas Berdych with #24 Radek Stepanek as the second singles player. World #8 Janko Tipsaveric leads Serbia with #27 Viktor Troicki as the second singles player. The doubles rubber will feature Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia who is currently ranked #6 in doubles. For this match-up, the winner of the doubles rubber will reach the semifinals. It will be a close 3-2 victory for the Czech Republic.
ARGENTINA vs CROATIA. Surface: Clay (Red Clay), Outdoor. Argentina has met with Croatia two times before, both in the quarterfinals of the 2002 and 2006 Davis Cup. On each occasion, Argentina won the fifth and deciding match to sneak past Croatia with a 3-2 victory. This year, it will be difficult to defeat the 2011 Davis Cup finalists in their hometown, with their current in form players. World #10 Juan Martin del Potro will be the highest ranked player in both teams followed by Argentine world #16 Juan Monaco. Marin Cilic, #23, will lead Croatia and serve specialist Ivo Karlovic is also expected to play singles. It's hard to imagine Croatia winning any of the matches; expect Argentina to cruise to the semifinals with a 5-0 victory.