The Davis Cup World Group quarterfinals get underway on Friday. France travels to Spain, Argentina goes to Russia, Croatia hooks up with Serbia and the Czech Republic travels to Chile.
Among the interesting clashes tomorrow include Gael Monfils v. David Ferrer; Nikolay Davydenko v. David Nalbandian; and, Ivan Ljubicic v. Novak Djokovic.
Here are the tie details (notes from ITF).
SPAIN at FRANCE
Head-to-head: Spain leads 5-1
Surface: Hard (Resin) – Indoors
France’s sole defeat of Spain happened back in the 1923 Europe Final in Deauville when Jean-Francois Blanchy, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and Rene Lacoste were in the squad.
All six previous meetings between the two nations have been on clay. This is their first on hard court and also their first indoor clash.
Their most recent encounter was in the 2004 World Group semifinals in Alicante where Spain won 4-1 and later that year won its second Davis Cup title.
Gael Monfils (FRA) v David Ferrer (ESP)
Michael Llodra (FRA) v Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
Julien Benneteau / Michael Llodra (FRA) v Feliciano Lopez / Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
Gael Monfils (FRA) v Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
Michael Llodra (FRA) v David Ferrer (ESP)
ARGENTINA at RUSSIA
Head-to-head: Russia leads Argentina 3-2
Surface: Hard (Acrylic) – Indoors
Russia and Argentina have shared the spoils in their last four meetings, with Argentina coming out on top most recently in the 2008 World Group semifinals in Buenos Aires.
They have met before at the Olympic Stadium – in the 2006 Final, when Russia prevailed 3-2 after Marat Safin won a thrilling decisive fifth rubber 63 36 63 76 over Jose Acasuso. Both Nikolay Davydenko and Mikhail Youzhny, who are competing for Russia this weekend, also played in that final.
This is the first meeting on hard court between the two nations.
The doubles rubber in the World Group semifinal between Russia and Argentina in 2002, where Lucas Arnold Ker and David Nalbandian defeated Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin 64 64 57 36 1917, is the longest recorded men’s doubles rubber ever at 6 hours 20 minutes.
Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) v David Nalbandian (ARG)
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) v Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
Teimuraz Gabashvili / Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) v David Nalbandian / Horacio Zeballos (ARG)
Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) v Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) v David Nalbandian (ARG)
CROATIA at SERBIA
Head-to-head: first meeting
Surface: Hard (RuKortHardTournament MF) – Indoors
This is just the second meeting between two former Yugoslav countries in Davis Cup competition. Prior to this weekend’s tie between Croatia and Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina and FYR Macedonia were the only former Yugoslav nations to meet in Davis Cup, having done so on four previous occasions since they became independent nations in 1992.
Croatian players competed under the Yugoslav flag until 1992 and Serbians until 2003. Yugoslavia was renamed Serbia & Montenegro in 2004 before Serbia became an independent nation in 2007.
Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) v Novak Djokovic (SRB)
Marin Cilic (CRO) v Viktor Troicki (SRB)
Ivan Dodig / Antonio Veic (CRO) v Janko Tipsarevic / Nenad Zimonjic (SRB)
Marin Cilic (CRO) v Novak Djokovic (SRB)
Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) v Viktor Troicki (SRB)
CZECH REPUBLIC at CHILE
Head-to-head: Chile leads 1-0
Surface: Clay (Red Clay) – Outdoors
This is the first meeting between the two nations since Czechoslovakia came within a set of victory before losing 3-2 to Chile in the 1967 European Zone 1st Round.
Nicolas Massu (CHI) v Ivo Minar (CZE)
Paul Capdeville (CHI) v Jan Hajek (CZE)
Jorge Aguilar/Paul Capdeville (CHI) v Frantisek Cermak/Lukas Dlouhy (CZE)
Nicolas Massu (CHI) v Jan Hajek (CZE)
Paul Capdeville (CHI) v Ivo Minar (CZE)
In Europe/Africa Zone Group II, Grigor Dimitrov could improve his perfect 9-0 singles record when Bulgaria takes on Slovenia. Only one player in Davis Cup history has a better ‘perfect performance’ in singles (USA’s Tut Bartzen with 15-0). (For more details see Davis Cup Media Guide p.159.)
Opponents Estonia and Bosnia/Herzegovina are both enjoying their best run in Davis Cup, having reached this weekend’s Europe/Africa Zone Group II 2nd round for the first time in their nation’s histories. Bosnia/Herzegovina played and won its first ever Group II tie in March, defeating FYR Macedonia 3-2, while Estonia won its first ever Group II tie on its 7th attempt (defeating Hungary 4-1).
Great Britain is on the brink of its worst ever performance in Davis Cup. It must defeat Turkey in this weekend’s Europe/Africa Group II play-off to avoid being relegated to Group III, the lowest rung of the ladder.
Paraguay, Indonesia, New Zealand and Pakistan are all hoping to make long-awaited returns to Group I of their respective zone competitions. Paraguay last competed in Americas Zone Group I in 2005 and Indonesia has been waiting just as long to return to Group I of the Asia/Oceania Zone. New Zealand takes on Pakistan with both nations bidding to return to Asia/Oceania Zone Group I, New Zealand for the first time since 2004, and Pakistan for the first time since 2006.
Aisam Qureshi goes into Pakistan’s tie against New Zealand on an 11-match winning streak, having not lost a rubber since 2006. He has played in Davis Cup every year bar one since making his debut in 1998. He is Pakistan’s most successful Davis Cup player in history with a 44-16 win-loss record.
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