Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews the 2017 Davis Cup semifinals.
So this didn’t go all that well, right?
Right after the conclusion of this year’s Australian Open, we went ahead and decided to preview the 2017 Davis Cup quarterfinals. It’s a challenge to write 52 columns in 52 weeks, so you take inspiration where you can find it—and sometimes it’s with the relatively unpopular yearly international tennis tournament when you decide to write a preview.
So yeah, about that preview? We had four different quarterfinals and by Saturday, two ties had already been decided—France over Great Britain, which we had predicted correctly, and Serbia over Spain, which we hadn’t. On Sunday, Belgium and Australia went ahead and took care of business, leaving us at 2-2 in our predictions. You could have just flipped a coin and been successful but instead you read our predictions and for that, we thank you.
That being said, let’s go ahead and try to do better for the 2017 Davis Cup semifinals.
Belgium vs Australia
Belgium may be the one underrated team in this tournament, capably putting forth a 1-2 punch that can rival any other with David Goffin and Steve Darcis. Against Italy, they were playing a tricky opponent but Johan Van Herck’s group rolled Andreas Seppi and co. over and the outcome was never really in doubt.
Meanwhile, Australia is off to the Final Four thanks to a dominant and resounding over a United States team counting on four members of the Top 25 in Jack Sock, John Isner, Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson. Sure, the Aussies can throw a motivated Nick Kyrgios out there, but captain Lleyton Hewitt had to have been surprised to see Jordan Thompson open the tie with a four-set win over Sock. From there, it was mostly business as usual for Australia, with Kyrgios grabbing two wins to clinch things.
Prediction: Australia 4-1
Serbia vs France
One of the challenges of predicting any Davis Cup tie is that any given country, especially those at or near the top, has quite a nice little pool of players to choose from and there’s no telling who plays. If it’s Serbia versus France, will it be Novak Djokovic for the former versus, like, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or just Jeremy Chardy? Who knows?
Well at this stage, we can make educated guesses. Serbia is in the semifinals, and Djokovic has played in both of their first two ties—only one match in every tie, because that’s all Serbia has needed from him, but yes he’s played. The Serb has typically held this tournament in quite high regard, pointing to Serbia’s Davis Cup triumph in 2010 as the springboard to his ensuing success.
The Serb will have their hands full for this tie no matter who plays for France, whose depth has shined so far at the Davis Cup. Consider that Yannick Noah rolled with Richard Gasquet, Giles Simon and the world’s top doubles pair against Japan’s B team only to then overcome Great Britain with Lucas Pouille and a bunch of other dudes. We’re on the record as predicting a France victory this year, and depth is a reason.
Prediction: France 3-2
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG