Murray vs Del Potro to open the Davis Cup semifinal
In one of the most mouthwatering and enticing Davis Cup opening rubbers ever, Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro collide in the semifinals in Glasgow on Friday. It is a rematch of the memorable Olympics final where Murray came out on top in a four hour thriller last month.
Murray is coming off his best year on tour. He has won 26 of his last 28 matches and he usually plays his best tennis when wearing the colours of Great Britain. Murray, the No. 2 player in the world, has only lost two Davis Cup singles rubbers in his career. He lost to Stan Wawrinka in 2005 and suffered a heavy defeat to Fabio Fognini in the 2014 quarterfinals.
Murray’s Davis Cup record is exemplary on a hard court in these settings. He is undefeated in singles hard court matches and has lost just one indoor match. However, Del Potro showed just what he is capable of at the Rio Olympics when representing his country of Argentina.
The one question mark will be whether Murray can outsmart Del Potro on a medium-fast hard court in indoor conditions. The ferocity of Del Potro’s forehand is enough to send shivers down most players’ spines, but Murray has beaten the Argentinian in every single hard court meeting they have contested in the past.
If Murray manages to get the victory in the first rubber, Great Britain will be favourites to make back-to-back Davis Cup finals. Argentina would have preferred the tie to be played in outdoor conditions on a slower, draining surface, which is why Leon Smith elected to pick a faster hard court to suit his team.
Strength in Numbers
Both Smith and Daniel Orsanic, the two Davis Cup captains, have kept their options open as they take into consideration the deciding singles rubbers on Sunday. Orsanic has chosen to select four singles players that can also play doubles if required. While Great Britain has the luxury of three in-form singles players in Murray, Kyle Edmund, and Dan Evans, who all had positive US Open showings respectively.
It is a luxury that Smith has not always had. In the past, Murray has dominated the Davis Cup victories en route to their first Davis Cup win since 1936. The ascension of Edmund and arrival of Evans gives Smith a problem he would have welcomed in years gone by.
Edmund’s progress is one of many positive signs for the future of British tennis. Many British tennis fans have waited for Edmund, a good junior, to make that giant step to the big leagues and he is starting to deliver.
Edmund vs Pella in the second rubber
Edmund faces Guido Pella in the second singles rubber on Friday. Pella plays his best tennis on a clay court, and should struggle in the fast indoor conditions in the Emirates Arena. However, Pella has had a promising year on the ATP tour, gaining some good wins over John Isner and Dominic Thiem on the way to his first ATP final in Rio.
Both sides will recognise the importance of getting off to a fantastic start, but the contributions of the rest of the teams will be of the utmost importance. The onus is on the likes of Edmund to recreate the memories of Belgrade, where he gained his first Davis Cup win.
Great Britain are the favourites because they have the World’s second best player. But Argentina have high hopes for Del Potro to send Argentina into their first Davis Cup final in five years.