Thursday, 6 April 2017

Davis Cup Quarter Finals Week

While the WTA Tour continues with tournaments in Charleston and Monterrey this week, the ATP Tour takes a rest, leaving room for Davis Cup quarter finals.

Serbia plays host to Spain and as usual Novak Djokovic makes himself available for his country.  Sadly, with a bunch of players in the top fifty, Spain enters this contest without their two highest ranked singles players Nadal and Bautista Agut, and their highest ranked doubles player Feliciano Lopez.

The same lack of top players robs the France v Great Britain tie of much potential.  No Tsonga, Gasquet or Monfils is a pity for the Rouen locals who will nevertheless be cheering wildly for Lucas Pouille et al.   Without Andy Murray, Great Britain may struggle, and the doubles will be key,

The USA v Australia match up promises some sensational tennis.  Played in Brisbane,  two of the form players will thrill the crowds.  Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock are good mates, but not on court for the next few days.
Sock has the greater support in Isner and Querrey, but the doubles could be Australia's saving grace, John Peers at the top of his game.

Belgium meets Italy at home and fields a strong team led by David Goffin.  It would take something special from Italy to make it through to the semis, but Davis Cup does have a habit of producing magic moments.

Charleston boasted a strong field including the two finalists from the Miami Open, Johanna Konta and Caroline Wozniacki.  Unfortunately Konta withdrew at the last moment.  Still that left Madison Keys as top seed, Venus Williams and Elena Vesnina headlining the Volvo Car Open with Wozniacki.

After first round byes, the top seeds crashed.  Keys won her opening set against fellow American Shelby Rogers before losing the next two 6-1 6-1.
Venus spent three hours deciding whether she would win or lose against Laura Siegemund, and after eighteen breaks of serve in the match, the American relented to the German.

Elena Vesnina rose to the top of the tree when she captured Indian Wells, but since then things have been rather ordinary.  A first up loss to Tomljanovic in Miami and now a first up loss to 18 year old Hungarian qualifier Fanny Stollar, ranked 282 in the world.

Caro Wozniacki is now the highest ranked player left in the event but she hasn't hit a tennis ball outside of practice.  Annika Beck is aiming for an upset.

Angie Kerber, desperate for a title, is top seed at the Abierto GNP Seguros tournament in Monterrey, Mexico.
Number one in the world, but playing at a level just below, this draw is ideal for Kerber with no other top ten players, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova the only other top twenty player.

Francesca Schiavone won Roland Garros in 2010, but now aged 36 and 152 in the world, her tennis is played more for enjoyment.
Well she really enjoyed her opening set against Angie Kerber, breaking serve twice on the way to a 6-4 lead.
Even in a smaller tournament in Mexico, Kerber's inconsistent form couldn't be hidden.

The switch was turned in time though.  A first round loss was incomprehensible so Angie strolled through set two, losing a mere nine points, and controlled the decider, never facing a break point.

Just a first round victory, but maybe the match which turned the fortunes for Kerber for 2017. 4-6 6-0 6-4.

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