The semifinals of the 2017 Davis Cup competition get underway Friday in Europe.
In Lille, France, the French team plays host to a depleted Serbian team. Novak Djokovic is out for the season and Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic are also unavailable. But taking their place will be Dusan Lajovic and Laslo Djere.
France will be paced by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Lucas Pouille with a powerful Nicholas Mahut/Pierre Hugues Herbert doubles team.
In Brussels, David Goffin and his Belgian team welcome Nick Kyrgios and the Australians. Kyrgios is joined by John Millman while Goffin will have the services of Steve Darcis on an indoor red clay.
Australian team captain Lleyton Hewitt could have chosen Thanasi Kokkinakis, but went with the veteran Millman.
“We just felt with the match-ups that this gives us the best opportunity to try and get the win,” said Hewitt. “With the singles and doubles options we feel like we’ve got a good opportunity here, but we take nothing for granted, especially against this tough Belgian side.
“We’re going to be ready for the battle tomorrow. It’s not going to be easy, but we’re going to enjoy it.”
Even Goffin expressed surprise over the choice.
“Of course we didn’t expect to play against Millman on Friday. We’re a little surprised,” Goffin said. “I know John Millman, I’ve never played against him, but I will be focused on what I have to do.
“It will be a really tough match. He’s really solid. Physically he’s really strong. I think physically it will be tough, but I’m feeling ready for that.”
Australia is seeking a spot in the Davis Cup Final for the first time since it defeated Spain back in 2003, while Belgium is eyeing a place in the final for only the third time in its history and the second time in three years.
AUSTRALIA AT BELGIUM
David Goffin (BEL) v John Millman (AUS)
Steve Darcis (BEL) v Nick Kyrgios (AUS)
Arthur De Greef/Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) v Jordan Thompson/John Peers (AUS)
David Goffin (BEL) v Nick Kyrgios (AUS)
Steve Darcis (BEL) v John Millman (AUS)
SERBIA AT FRANCE
Lucas Pouille (FRA) v Dusan Lajovic (SRB)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v Laslo Djere (SRB)
Nicolas Mahut/Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) v Nenad Zimonjic/Filip Krajinovic (SRB)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v Dusan Lajovic (SRB)
Lucas Pouille (FRA) v Laslo Djere (SRB)
WORLD GROUP PLAYOFF MATCHUPS
Kazakhstan (c) v Argentina (s) – Astana, KAZ – hard (indoors)
Colombia (c)* v Croatia (s) – Bogota, COL – clay (outdoors)
Switzerland (s) (c) v Belarus – Biel, SUI – hard (indoors)
Netherlands (c) v Czech Republic (s) – The Hague, NED – clay (indoors)
Portugal (c)* v Germany (s) – Oeiras, Lisbon, POR – clay (outdoors)
Japan (s) (c)* v Brazil – Osaka, JPN – hard (outdoors)
Hungary (c) v Russia (s) – Budapest, HUN – clay (outdoors)
Canada (s) (c)* v India – Edmonton, CAN – hard (indoors)
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