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Discussion Starter #1
Just wondering what you all thought about the likely first-round winners; I've got some ideas to start off with.

France vs. Romania
The French have the best strength in depth on all surfaces (unlike Spain) of any nation in the Davis Cup, and there's no surface that suits the Romanians better than it does them. Escude's going to eat up that indoor carpet they're getting for the tie, and given the apparent back injury to the Romanian no. 1 Andrei Pavel this is a cert. FRANCE.

Switzerland vs. Netherlands
For my money this is the hardest one to call. The carpet surface is going to favour the first and second player of both teams, with Federer and Krajicek obviously being the bigger servers. The Dutch have home support and the better overall team, but Federer is good enough to win both singles rubbers and, if paired with the right partner, could snatch the doubles for the win; on the other hand the use of Krajicek in doubles and the inspirational Raemon Sluiter as the second singles man could tip the balance. NETHERLANDS.

Australia vs. Great Britain
AUSTRALIA. Well that was hard, wasn't it?

Brazil vs. Sweden
Despite the presence of a world-class player in Guga, much the same applies to this tie as to the above. There is no way the Swedes are going to lose on an indoor carpet to a Brazilian team that can only muster Sa and Meligeni as its second player behind Kuerten, even without the presence of an injured Johansson and the worry of a shoulder-inflamed Enqvist. SWEDEN.

United States vs. Croatia
The Croatian captain must be sitting there rubbing his hands with glee; only a few days ago his star turn Ivanisevic looked as though his injury would rule him out of the tie with the US, now an injury problem has forced the Americans' lead player Andy Roddick to withdraw from the squad. With James Blake as the no. 1, the Croats can be sure of a win; Blake will probably take one rubber and possibly two, but the doubles will go Croatia's way and the serves of Ljubicic and Ancic will ultimately prevail against the American number two in the other singles. CROATIA.

Belgium vs. Spain
Hmm, a full-strength Spanish team containing the likes of Ferrero, Corretja and Robredo against the mental mysteries of the X-Man, the small but resolute Rochus brothers and a youngster who did quite well in Adelaide at the start of the year. They must be terrified. As always with Spain, their home tie is an absolute gimme; it's when they have to move off to foreign pastures that they've got to start worrying. SPAIN.

Argentina vs. Germany
If this were being played at some neutral venue, you could probably expect the highest-quality, most ferociously contested tie of the entire first round, as both teams boast world-class players with a full range of talents and strong Davis Cup records. Unfortunately, it's not. It's in Argentina, where the intimidation factor of the court and the crowd is probably streets ahead even of Spain. The German no. 1 Tommy Haas has the best record of any Top 20 player in this competition, having lost just 1 of 13 matches; and Rainer Schuettler has obviously been doing fairly well recently in Haas' absence from the Tour, including stretching his winning record over the no. 1 Argentine David Nalbandian during the course of his AO run. However, he's not at his best on a clay court and you get the feeling that Nalbandian, Gaudio et al will simply wear him and Haas down. ARGENTINA.

Czech Republic vs. Russia
Another tie overshadowed by injury, raising pertinent questions about the heavy schedule on the ATP tour; with Marat Safin out, the Russians are staring at an away tie against a team which has never lost in the first round of the World Group since its inception 22 years ago. Their new star player Youzhny can obviously draw on the inspiration of his win last year, and it helped that he beat the Czech no. 1 Novak at the Aus Open convincingly, but then his subsequent loss to Roddick from two sets up must have been something of an ironic role reversal for him and a bitter pill to swallow. His matches will prove crucial, since Novak is sure to thrash an under-par Kafelnikov if they meet during the tie, and their new no. 2 Radek Stepanek is such an unpredictable character that he could win this tie on his own. The Russians are still a strong team, but without the punching power of Safin they just seem too lightweight for this competition. CZECH REPUBLIC.

Note: I make no guarantees for the above predictions proving to be entirely correct, and am willing to apologise if all of them go against what I suggested; I will, however, drive to the nearest farm and try to get a pig airborne if I wake to discover that Britain has somehow claimed a win over Australia.

Best wishes, The Sjengster.
 

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france
netherland
australia
sweden
usa
spain
argentina
czech republic
 

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Just a note -

Haas won't be playing for Germany, so their team is somewhat diluted with his absense. That said, I would have picked Argentina regardless.

The Spanish team is actually Corretja, Costa, Ferrero, Moya, and No Robredo, no?

Somebody posted a list of the teams in one of the player forums, so if I'm wrong it's only because the list was ;)


Onward:

I agree with most of your analysis, but have a question: USA vs Croatia is being played on what surface?

I'm also going to take the Swiss over the Dutch.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I should have realised about Haas, it's just that I looked up the teams on the Davis Cup website and there he was, but the info was probably a little out of date.

Heck, if it is Costa and Moya for Spain, then the result's even more cast-iron than it was originally.

As far as I know, the US-Croatia tie is on a fast indoor carpet that'll favour the Croats' big serves. Obviously the Americans are no slouch on faster surfaces themselves, but apart from Blake and his forehand they don't have the firepower to match.
 

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Sjengster said:
Just wondering what you all thought about the likely first-round winners
France vs. Romania
Totally agree. FRANCE.

Switzerland vs. Netherlands
I think that indoor carpet is actually a neutral surface between the two teams. Federer can play on everything, Kratochvil grew up on this stuff (and will hopefully break out of his mental slump :(), and a doubles pairing with either Bastl or Allergo to Federer is not going to be a pushover for the Dutch. Schalken crashed out in Milan :eek: so he may be winding down from his powress from the end of last year. Federer can win 3 matches in a tie; he's done it before and can do it again. I'm going with my SWISSIES.

Australia vs. Great Britain
AUSTRALIA. Well that was hard, wasn't it?


LMAO!! Agreed :D although this
I will, however, drive to the nearest farm and try to get a pig airborne if I wake to discover that Britain has somehow claimed a win over Australia.
would be funny as hell, too ;)


Brazil vs. Sweden
SWEDEN, but it will be closer than you propose, I think. Guga can give a match on any surface, and he and Sa have teamed for doubles successfully before.

United States vs. Croatia
Hmm, I'm not so sure about that -- James is a killer doubles player, and he did help defeat the French on clay in the semis last year. I wish he had a better partner than Fish, but Fish seems to be on the upswing with his game. Inexperience may cost the US team, but I still think they will prevail in the end. Goran's only playing doubles, and I think James could beat Ljubicic and Ancic if he had to. I want USA (I also want them to win so I can see Spain the the next round :eek:)

Belgium vs. Spain
Agree for the most part, especially the fact that SPAIN will have a sweep, most likely.

Argentina vs. Germany
This is on clay? ARGENTINA anyday.

Czech Republic vs. Russia
This is the hardest tie to predict, I think. Russia is starting out with a pretty weak team, but Novak (and now Stepanek) aren't exactly on great upswings themselves. Zhenya has always played above himself in DC (well, last year's semi & final aside :eek:), and Youzhny is the newest hero of DC. I want Russia to win, and I think after the first match is played we'll have a better understanding of who *will* win. It's all going to depend on how the players are playing that weekend (same for Dutch/Swiss). Tenatively call RUSSIA.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I agree that the Swiss do have a pretty good chance if Federer's on-form and I hope it goes down to the wire, simply because I'm torn - Federer and Schalken are my two favourite players, and I like the other Dutch players as well.

As for Russia and the Czech Republic, you're right it will be easier to decide on the day, but the Czechs certainly have an impressive record in terms of always winning at least a round in DC. I do wonder whether Novak is finding it hard to live up to the results he achieved last year and he may have a slump in form, and Youzhny has recently beaten not only him but Stepanek too, so I suppose this one could go Russia's way too.
 

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The obvious:

France, Australia and Spain (although this one will be closer).

Others:

Difficult to predict the Dutch and the Swiss and I think it really depends on how good Rogi will play. But I think the Dutch is better in double so the other Swiss player (probably Michel) need to win one match.

I will definitely cheer for Brazil but Guga has to win all his single and double..... Brazil for sentimental reason

US and Croatia. US for sentimental reason again (Blake)

Argentina probably come out on top of Germany but will be close.

Russia vs Czech. Russia, don't want the defending champ go out in first tie.
 

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argentina will beat germany 5:0

spain is a safe bet against belgium

so is australia against great britain

france will defeat romania

sweden beating brazil

swiss will overcome the dutch

russia will defeat czechs

usa against croatia - though one since roddick isn't playing it will be close
 

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Who exactly said that Safin is out? AFAIK, yesterday he was selected along with Youzhnyi, Kafelnikov and Davydenko. He has a minor tear on non-serving. I think that he is at least likely to play the fifth match of the tie if it's not dead rubber or doubles. Don't forget about Davydenko, the guy has already won a title this year, and clay is his best surface ( as well as Youzhnyi's ). If Safin does withdraw, then they will probably select Olkhovski ( or Cherkasov? ). Russians can't really strengthen their singles by selecting the fourth player from all available players, but they will probably opt for creating a better doubles team.
 

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first of all, let me get my bias out of the way...

go Argentina!!!!! :bounce: :bounce:

oh yes, welcome to the board Sjengster! :kiss: and thanks for starting such lovely threads. you obviously love tennis and it's nice to have such an informed tennis fanatic around! :) :)

now for my predictions...


France definitely over Romania...

Netherlands will spank the Swiss...

Arvind Parmer & Co. don't stand a chance against the Aussies so pigs will definitely not be flying, nor will Oprah be singing...

the Brazialins however will stun the world and spank the Swedes! :eek: on carpet! :eek: indoors! :eek: thanks to Enquist's bad shoulder! :eek:

the USA will spank Croatia. Mardy Fish to the rescue! who needs Dickhead??

Correjta et al over Belgium

Argentina would beat Germany anywhere, on any surface, home advantage be damned! ;) ;)

and, as long as Jiri is healthy, the Russians don't have a prayer...:eek:
 

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France.:rolleyes:

Switzerland vs. Netherlands...well, tough one. Although I dare to say Switzerland.:)

Australia.:p

Brazil vs. Sweden....that's one tie I'd love to watch, although I know brazilians won't be THAT hard to beat IMO as in clay and in home. So Sweden.;)

United States vs. Croatia....well, kinda tight one, because none of them are gonna have their "biggest" stars:eek: (Call them Roddick and Goran--although Goran's not active uff...long time ago--). Anyway I think USA is gonna figure it out after all.:angel:

Belgium vs. Spain....I didn't have "clear" yet who's the local team, if it's in Spain...well....Tie for "los españoles";)

Argentina.:bounce:

Czech Republic vs. Russia....I don't know, Stepanek is doing "quite" good so far, he defeated his countryman Novak, and Guga...but...will he be able to do the same ag. Kafelnikov or Youzhny? And in Davis Cup? Meanwhile Novak isn't in a great level.:confused: About Russia, well, it depends in some way, if Safin plays, and if he does, what's his level....After all, I think Russia will prevail, but in a tight tie as 3-2.:D
 

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the USA will spank Croatia. Mardy Fish to the rescue! who needs Dickhead??
The team, Well maybe. I'm sure Mardy and James will be fine. :D
 

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France vs Romania
Escude will play. Then they can put either Grosjean (more likely) or Santoro, and it will be enough to win it. I guess it will even be pretty easy.
FRANCE

Switzerland vs Netherlands
I will give the edge to the dutch because they have a better duo on Krajicek and Schalken, if those are the two who will play. If not, then I guess Fed can take care of them all. :p
NETHERLANDS

Australia vs Great Britain
:eek:
AUSTRALIA

Brazil vs Sweden
BIAS. Wont mention it for obvious reasons.
? ;)

Croatia vs USA
James is not consistent enough to win all the three matches the USA would need, so Im picking Croatia. If Dent or Fish can manage to do something on best-of-five, though, maybe that can change.
CROATIA

Czech Republic vs Russia
Too bad for the czechs that Guga aint Russian. ;)
I will give the edge to the russians, because I cant trust Radek to win two matches, and Jiri seems to be going a little down...
It will be a tough one, though
RUSSIA
 

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Sweden vs Brazil = Enqvist's shoulder vs Brazil

Sweden should win doubles
I'd take Magnus Larsson to win one or both of his singles

Spain should win 4-1 or 5-0
AUS U16 would win 5-0 vs GB :rolleyes:

Argentina should win 4-1 or 5-0
Croatia vs US at home is interesting (home win just 3-2) :D
 

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I can't go against us :angel:
probably 3-2 (go Russia :D)

France to win
Dutch to take out a 3-2 win (Roger to lose one of his singles)
 

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I read that Safin is out officially. :(
 

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Yesterday (twesday 28/1) the radio say Tommy Haas is coming to play for germany

But Gastón Gaudio´s record is better than him, Sjengster. He only lost 1 match, with Kafelnikov in semis, after losing 2 matchpoints :eek: :eek:
 

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Laury, Haas just come to cheer his team.

BERLIN, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Tommy Haas, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, has confirmed he will travel to Buenos Aires to support Germany in their Davis Cup world group first-round tie against Argentina next week. "I will be there to cheer on the lads and have a good time," said Haas on Wednesday.

Hass underwent surgery to repair a tear in the rotator cuff of his right shoulder last month and missed the Australian Open.

The Germany team were training at Nick Bollettieri's camp in Florida and expected Australian Open finalist Rainer Schuettler to join them on Wednesday.

With Nicolas Kiefer also out injured, Germany captain Patrick Kuehnen was expected to rely on Schuettler and Lars Burgsmueller to play singles with Michael Kohlmann and David Prinosil lined up to play doubles.

Argentina captain Gustavo Luza has picked David Nalbandian, Gaston Gaudio, Guillermo Canas and Lucas Arnold.
 
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