10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Ricky’s Tennis Preview and Picks for the Davis Cup Finals: Russia to Battle Past Spain

Team Russia opened the season winning the ATP Cup final against Team Italy on Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park. Will the Russians close the year winning Davis Cup? EPA-EFE/DEAN LEWINS

By Ricky Dimon

The 2021 Davis Cup Finals will get underway on Thursday with round-robin competition. A total of 18 countries are divided into six groups of three, with each of the six winners advancing to the quarterfinals along with two second-place teams that have the best remaining records based on number of matches and sets won.

Each tie is best-of-three, with two singles rubbers followed by a doubles match.

Spain is bidding for its second title–and second in a row–since the Davis Cup format was changed in 2019 (last year’s event was cancelled because of Covid-19). Led by Rafael Nadal, the host nation took care of business in Madrid by beating Great Britain in the semis and Canada in the final. The Spaniards will have home-court advantage once again, as Madrid is one of three sites for the round-robin and quarterfinals and is the lone site for the semis and final. However, this time around there is no Nadal.

Team Spain is still loaded, but it finds itself in the same group as Russia. The Russians started the 2021 season by triumphing at the ATP Cup and they have to be considered the favorites in the Davis Cup thanks to Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, and Karen Khachanov.

Novak Djokovic aims to lead Serbia to its second Davis Cup championship. EPA-EFE/RUNGROJ YONGRIT

Serbia obviously cannot be discounted with Novak Djokovic at the helm. Italy should be a contender even without Matteo Berrettini, as both Jannik Sinner and Fabio Fognini are on board. The United States is formidable in both singles and doubles, but being in the same group as Italy is tough. France is led by Nitto ATP Finals doubles champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, but can the singles players pick up enough wins for the country’s second title in the last five years?

Picks:

Group A
1) Russia
2) Spain
3) Ecuador

Group B
1) Kazakhstan
2) Sweden
3) Canada

Group C
1) France
2) Great Britain
3) Czech Republic

Group D
1) Australia
2) Croatia
3) Hungary

Group E
1) Italy
2) United States
3) Colombia

Group F
1) Serbia
2) Germany
3) Austria

Quarterfinals
Russia over United States
France over Serbia
Italy over Australia
Spain over Kazakhstan

Semifinals
Russia over France
Spain over Italy

Final
Russia over Spain

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.