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With the dominance of both the USA and Australia in world tennis now almost completely over the importance of the Davis Cup for many tennis fans has lost much of its importance. However, whilst interest wanes in those countries, it has increased hugely for others particularly for teams like Spain, who are now the leading tennis nation in the mens singles game. Australia and the USA led the world by a long way in the fifties and sixties in Davis Cup terms, either one or the other would win the most prestigious tennis team cup in the world every year from 1946 until 1974. The rot was actually stopped by South Africa, who strangely has not won the Davis Cup since.

These days the Davis Cup is competed for by teams from every corner of the globe with the competition having been completely restructured into geographical based zones with the highest zone being the World Group, comprising 16 teams. The winners of the World Group effectively win the Davis Cup, after playing a knock out competition which takes place on Davis Cup weekends, throughout the year. Four of the sixteen teams are seeded, and are headed this year by defending champions, Serbia with France at number two, Spain at three and the Czech Republic number at number four. Spain has in fact won the ‘Cup’ four times in the last ten years, with Russia winning twice and there have been single wins also for France, Australia, Croatia, USA and most recently of course, Serbia in 2010.

Favourites in the tennis odds to win the Davis Cup in 2011 are Spain, who have just beaten Belgium in the last 16 to go through to the quarter finals where they will meet the USA.

The Spanish team are of course led by world number one, Rafael Nadal who usually has either David Ferrer (ranked 7) or Fernando Verdasco (ranked 9) as partners along with Marcel Granollers as the team’s specialist doubles player and are justifiably the force that every other nation must beat this year.

Next in the betting come holders Serbia with world number three and recent Australian Open winner, Novak Djokovic leading their campaign. Djokovic was missing in fact from his team’s last 16 victory over India last week but will be back in the team for their quarter final battle against Sweden.

The surprise package from the round of 16 was Kazakhstan, who defeated the Czech Republic by three rubbers to two, with Andrey Golubev winning both of his singles matches against Jan Hajek and world number seven, Tomas Berdych. They will now face an even tougher match in the last eight against Argentina who will have Juan Martin Del Potro back in the team to partner, David Nalbandian. Argentina had an easy 4-1 win over Romania to qualify for the quarter’s.

The fourth and final quarter final will be played between 2010 runners up, France and Germany, who both qualified by defeating Austria and Croatia respectively.

The quarter finals take place after the Wimbledon Championships concludes in July.
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