Thursday, April 5, 2012

Davis Cup QF Draw

The draw is out now for the Davis Cup tie - Argentina vs Croatia.

(Sergio Llamera)

The draw is as follows:

David Nalbandian vs Marin Cilic
It wasn't that long ago that David played against Cilic on the ATP level.  It was just two tournaments ago in Indian Wells where David triumphed in a tight match littered with errors 7-6(3) 7-6(4).  You would think that at the Davis Cup level, that the match would be played at a higher quality.  One of Cilic's earlier memories on the professional level was in 2006, when David beat him in Croatia 6-1 6-1 6-2.  It seemed like a horrible match-up when David beat him convincingly in Washington 6-2 6-2, but the matches have been more closely contested since, though David maintains that mental advantage.  David has the ability to take advantage of Cilic's laboured movement, particularly on clay where he can use the angles.  Cilic might have more time to react to the ball, but clay is really not his strongest surface.  I'd say he is probably a hardcourt specialist, though these days being a hardcourt specialist doesn't usually involve being incredibly weak on other surfaces.

Juan Martin Del Potro vs Ivo Karlovic
This will probably be one of the few times that Del Potro will face an opponent who is taller than he is.  Karlovic reached a career high ranking of 14 in 2008, and used to be known as a far more dangerous player than he is right now.  Currently he doesn't spring as many upsets as he used to, but he has done well to get his ranking back up to 52 from 239 which he was ranked at Indian Wells last year.  Del Potro already played against Karlovic in Miami this year, and Del Potro prevailed 7-5 6-4.  Del Potro leads the head-to-head 2-1 with the only win Karlovic has had being in Nottingham 2007 on grass which is Karlovic's best surface and Del Potro's worst.

David Nalbandian/Eduardo Schwank vs Marin Cilic/Lovro Zovko
Jaite has decided to go with the doubles combination of David and Schwank again, and perhaps this is a good idea against an inexperienced team like Cilic/Zovro.  David and Schwank get along well together and know each other well. They have a lot of positive energy, and Schwank has proven himself to be a good doubles player, and he performs well under pressure.  It is possible that Croatia may want to change that doubles combination.  Argentina will probably want to wrap up this tie after 3 rubbers.

Juan Martin Del Potro vs Marin Cilic
Probably the closest match on paper of the entire tie, except that first they would have to get to this rubber.  Both players used to be compared quite frequently coming from the same generation - bigger and taller players with limitations with movement.  Both players like to control points, but in different ways.  Cilic hits closer to the lines and is more accurate.  Del Potro uses his power and is more reliable.  Del Potro leads the head-to-head 4-2, but probably has a bigger advantage on clay.  Again, like all the other singles matches previously, Del Potro already played against Cilic earlier this year in Miami and won 6-3 7-6(3).

David Nalbandian vs Ivo Karlovic
Juan Monaco would play this tie if they were to get to a live fifth rubber, but it is unlikely they would get that far I think.

I guess considering that both David and Del Potro are favoured to win their matches, it's not really a big deal who plays first.  Apart from that, there aren't any real surprises in the line-up.

As usual, following Davis Cup protocol, the players listed on Sunday for the moment have to be those listed for Friday's singles.  However, as Julia covered in the press later in the week, it is unlikely that David will play on that third day.