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USA among elite eight heading to Malaga for Davis Cup Tennis Finals, Alcaraz and Spain also qualify

Photo credit: Pedro Salado / Quality Sport Images / Kosmos Tennis

By Ricky Dimon

The field for the 2022 Davis Cup Finals is set. Sixteen countries duked it out this past weekend for the coveted eight spots, with successful qualification made by Italy, Croatia, Spain, Canada, Germany, Australia, Netherlands, and the United States.

They were among the top two teams in four different round-robin groups, earning trips to Malaga in late November.
Here’s how the four groups shook out:

Group A: Winner) Italy, Runner-up) Croatia, Eliminated) Sweden and Argentina

Matteo Berrettini won all three of his singles rubber to help Italy go 3-0 in front of the home crowd in Bologna. Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli won two of their three doubles matches. Croatia bounced back from an opening loss to the Italians by beating both Sweden and Argentina. A 2-1 victory over Sweden proved to be especially crucial. The Croats lost the first rubber of that tie, but Borna Coric held off Mikael Ymer in three sets before Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic took the doubles point.

Group B: Winner) Spain, Runner-up) Canada, Eliminated) Serbia and Korea

Spain actually lost to Canada in its second match in Valencia, but 3-0 shutouts of Serbia and Korea were enough for the host nation to finish atop the group ahead of the Canadians on the points tiebreaker. The Spaniards faced a win-or-go-home situation against Korea on the final day and they had no trouble taking care of business. Roberto Bautista Agut and Carlos Alcaraz secured qualification with straight-set singles victories.

Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany reacts. EPA-EFE/PHILIPP GUELLAND

Group C: Winner) Germany, Runner-up) Australia, Eliminated) France and Belgium

Group C was arguably the deepest, with more parity than any other quartet. On paper it seemed like it could go any direction. However, Germany and Australia wasted absolutely no time clinching places in Malaga. Both teams raced to 2-0 records to eliminate France and Belgium. Germans Jan-Lennard Struff, Kevin Krawietz, and Tim Puetz were the stars of the group. In fact, all three of Germany’s ties went the exact same way: Struff won, Oscar Otte lost, and the Krawietz-Puetz duo took the decisive doubles rubber. 

Group D: Winner) Netherlands, Runner-up) United States, Eliminated) Great Britain and Kazakhstan

Both Netherlands and the United States surged to 2-0 records through two matches in Glasgow, leaving Great Britain and Kazakhstan 0-2. Thus there were no complicated scenarios heading into the finales. Netherlands vs. USA was for the top spot in Group D, while Great Britain vs. Kazakhstan was a dead tie. Botic van de Zandschulp could not have had a better weekend, as he compiled a 3-0 record in singles by beating Alexander Bublik, Cameron Norrie, and Taylor Fritz. The second spot pretty much came down to the doubles rubber between the Americans and Brits. Jack Sock and Rajeev Ram of the USA trailed by a set and a break but came back to defeat Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury.

Here are the quarterfinal matchups in Malaga:

1A) Italy vs. 2D) United States
1C) Germany vs. 2B) Canada
1D) Netherlands vs. 2C) Australia
1B) Spain vs. 2A) Croatia

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.