Davis Cup Semifinals, Playoffs Preview
It’s Davis Cup semifinals weekend, as the Czech Republic visits Croatia, and Israel visits Spain.
But the World Group playoffs will also be contested with some interesting match-ups including Chile vs. Austria, Belgium vs. Ukraine, Brazil vs. Ecuador, Netherlands vs. France, South Africa vs. India, Serbia vs. Uzbekistan, Sweden vs. Romania, and Italy vs. Switzerland.
Israel is a giant underdog vs. Spain, but as Israel doubles specialist Andy Ram says, “It’s like David against Goliath — and we know who won that one!”
Rafael Nadal is sitting out with a stomach muscle injury and Fernando Verdasco with foot surgery, so David Ferrer and Juan Carlos Ferrero will take the singles duties against Harel Levy and Dudi Sela on the Spanish red clay. Doubles will be Spaniards Feliciano Lopez/Tommy Robredo vs. Israel’s Jonathan Erlich/Andy Ram.
Croatia vs. the Czechs will be a closer, more high-powered affair, featuring Croats Ivo Karlovic and Marin Cilic against Czechs Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych.
“It feels great to be in the semis but not satisfied because we’d like more,” Stepanek said. “We prepared as much as we could and we are looking forward to the tie. Playing Karlovic is always strange and tricky, you get no rhythm. You have few chances and you have to try and take them once they come because there are not many. There will not be much rallies so it’s important to focus all the time.”
Croatia is hosting the tie on indoor red clay.
The doubles will be a throw-away with Croats Roko Karanusic/Lovro Zovko announced against Czechs Lukas Dlouhy/Jan Hajek, but that will likely change depending on the results of the opening singles.
Spain is the defending Davis Cup champion, last year besting Argentina in the final. Spain also won the Davis Cup in 2004 and 2000. Croatia and the Czechs have each won one Davis Cup title, and Israel has yet to raise the Davis Cup.
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