Davis Cup Finals Day 1 Predictions – Croatia vs Russia

Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev Davis Cup Finals

It might be a brand new format, but the Davis Cup Finals are with a new champion set to be crowned in Madrid. The new format means that each tie will now be decided over three rubbers with two singles matches to be followed by a potentially decisive doubles match. The headlining clash of day one pits a strong-looking Russian team up against defending champions Croatia. Who will come out on top?

Davis Cup Day One Predictions

Borna Gojo vs Andrey Rublev

Head-to-head: first meeting

Borna Gojo might have been surprised at the beginning of the year if one had told him that he would end the year representing Croatia at the Davis Cup Finals. The defending champions would likely prefer to have their talismanic Grand Slam champion Marin Cilic available, but the former-world #3 withdrew from the team due to fitness concerns. That looks to have created a real gulf in quality in this opening match.

The pair have never met before, which is unsurprising as Gojo mostly plies his trade on the Challenger circuit, though he has seen some good results at that level recently. He is currently at a career-high #270 and will at least come into the match with some confidence. Andrey Rublev, on the other hand, is on the verge of the top 20 and has played some very good tennis at the highest level this year. He recently won his second tour-level event at home in Moscow on an indoor hard court and is a more than able replacement for Daniil Medvedev.

Rublev should be able to assert his dominance over Gojo early on and win this match. It may not be a walkover, but expect a straight-sets victory for Russia.

Prediction: Rublev in 2
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Borna Coric vs Karen Khachanov

Head-to-head: Coric 2-0 Khachanov

These men haven’t met since the NextGen finals in 2017. Borna Coric will be keenly aware that if Croatia are to stand any real chance of defending their title he will have to lead the team in the absence of Cilic. Karen Khachanov will have to assume a similar leadership role in the Russian team as he is now the highest-ranked player in the squad, although they do have more strength in depth than the Croatians. This match may be decided by who can deal with that pressure the best. This may play into the younger man’s hands though as it was only last year that Coric was dealing with these unique pressures very well.

Prediction: Coric in 3
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Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic vs Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev

Head-to-head: N/A

This could be a very high-quality doubles match. Ivan Dodig, who once again made the 16 man field at the ATP Finals in London, and Nikola Mektic are both doubles specialists, which could give them the edge in this potentially crucial clash. But it should not be overlooked that Khachanov and Rublev made the final of the Paris Masters together only a few weeks ago.

Much may depend upon how tired the Russian singles players are after their opening rubbers. If both have had to work very hard for their wins that could really hamper their chances of winning in the doubles as there will be little opportunity for them to recover, particularly Khachanov. However, with their recent form against the very best in the world it would be a surprise if Khachanov and Rublev weren’t able to win the tie here for Russia.

Prediction: Khachanov and Rublev in 2

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