Davis Cup Finals preview and best bets

Davis Cup Finals preview and best bets

Andy Schooler’s tennis previews delivered outright winners at 40/1, 13/1, 20/1 and 16/1 in October, followed by 11/2 and 11/8 winners so far in November – follow him on twitter @SchoolerSport

Tennis betting tips: Davis Cup Finals

1.5pt e.w. Canada at 10/1 (Sky Bet 1/3 1,2)

0.5pt e.w. Netherlands at 20/1 (Sky Bet 1/3 1,2)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

Davis Cup Finals – Knockout stage

  • Malaga, Spain (indoor hard)

The Davis Cup field has been whittled down to eight with this week’s knockout stage set to determine this year’s champions.

As the name suggests, it’s straight knockout from here with the quarter-finals starting on Tuesday and finishing on Thursday. The semis are played across Friday and Saturday with the winners crowned after Sunday’s final.

The action is taking place on an indoor hardcourt in Malaga, the same venue at which Canada lifted the trophy 12 months ago.

Conditions have been described as “fast” by Finland’s Otto Virtanen during practice this week.

These days, the format in this competition pretty short. Each tie is made up of two singles matches followed by the potentially decisive doubles.

Basically, there is little room for error and one upset result in a tie can make all the difference.

Let’s take a look at those quarter-finals before delivering an overall verdict on what might unfold in what promises to be a thrilling week of team tennis.

  • Rankings shown in brackets are singles unless indicated by an asterisk in which case the figures are for doubles.

Canada v Finland (Tuesday, 1500 GMT)

  • Canada – Felix-Auger Aliassime (29), Gabriel Diallo (139), Alexis Galarneau (203), Milos Raonic (318), Vasek Pospisil (434)
  • Finland – Emil Ruusuvuori (69), Otto Virtanen (171), Patrick Kaukovalta (782), Harri Heliovaara (29*), Patrik Niklas-Salminen (123*)

The Finns were the big story of September’s group stage when they upset the odds to finish ahead of both hosts Croatia and USA in Split to qualify for the last eight.

Emil Ruusuvuori has been an ATP finalist in the past and prefers a quick court but he’ll need support.

He got that from Otto Virtanen in the group stage and if the Challenger Tour regular is able to step up again, Finland can’t be ruled out, especially given the huge number of fans they are likely to have – the Costa del Sol has a large number of Finnish ex-pats.

Still, Canada look the most likely winners.

The reigning champions have seen Felix Auger-Aliassime regain some sort of form in recent weeks. After a tough year, he recently won indoors in Basel so should arrive here with confidence renewed.

There’s no Denis Shapovalov but Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil add plenty of experience, while captain Frank Dancevic would have been delighted to see Gabriel Diallo and Alexis Galarneau step up in the group-stage ties.

In short, there’s plenty of depth in the team, at least in singles. There’s no-one in the top 150 in doubles but the likes of FAA and Pospisil have been able to deliver in that format over the years – Canada were also runners-up in 2019.

Czechia v Australia (Wednesday, 1500 GMT)

  • Czechia – Jiri Lehecka (31), Tomas Machac (78), Jakub Mensik (147), Adam Pavlasek (56*)
  • Australia – Alex de Minaur (12), Max Purcell (45, 35*), Jordan Thompson (56), Thanasi Kokkinakis (65), Matt Ebden (4*)

Australia have a rich Davis Cup tradition and look to have a decent chance of success again this year.

They have great depth in their squad with four singles players in the top 50, including world number 12 Alex de Minaur.

They also boast some strong doubles options with Matt Ebden fresh from an appearance at the ATP Finals, while Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson are regular partners in that format.

Perhaps the main ingredient they are missing is an absolutely top-class singles man, someone on whom they could truly rely on to deliver a point.

That will give the Czechs hope.

They eliminated Spain in Spain in the group stage and Jiri Lehecka should be a threat in these conditions. His firepower could unsettle De Minaur if, as expected, they meet.

Their doubles options aren’t as strong though and you have to feel that gives Australia a definite edge.

Italy v Netherlands (Thursday, 0900 GMT)

  • Italy – Jannik Sinner (4), Lorenzo Musetti (27), Matteo Arnaldi (44), Lorenzo Sonego (47), Simone Bolelli (55*)
  • Netherlands – Tallon Griekspoor (23), Botic van de Zandschulp (51), Gijs Brouwer (164), Wesley Koolhof (8*), Jean-Julien Rojer (18*)

Italy will feel Jannik Sinner is their trump card in Malaga after he played so well at the recent ATP Finals, where he beat Novak Djokovic in the group stage only to lose to the Serb in the final.

However, you have to wonder how much the efforts, both physically and mentally, have taken out of the young Italian and therefore I’m not sure he’s the shoo-in for points here that many will feel.

While reports suggest it’s playing faster than average, it’s likely to be slower than Turin, which provided some of the fastest conditions of the season. That will mean adapting in a short period of time.

The good news is that Italy do have options if Sinner is jaded – they have four top-50 singles players and the highest-ranked number two in this field. That said, Lorenzo Musetti has lost his last five matches.

Doubles options are also not as strong as many of the other teams assembled in Malaga.

If the Dutch can take this to the deciding rubber, they will fancy their chances – they have two doubles men from the world’s top 20 with Wesley Koolhof, like Sinner, arriving from Turin.

Tallon Griekspoor and Botic van de Zandschulp are no mugs in singles and have delivered good results for their country in this competition in the past.

While there are no odds up at time of writing, I feel the Dutch could be a decent bet at a nice price to cause an upset here.

Serbia v Great Britain (Thursday, 1500 GMT)

  • Serbia – Novak Djokovic (1), Laslo Djere (33), Dusan Lajovic (46), Miomir Kecmanovic (55), Hamad Medjedovic (111)
  • Great Britain – Cameron Norrie (18), Jack Draper (60), Liam Broady (103), Joe Salisbury (7*), Neal Skupski (9*)

Serbia are favourites to lift the trophy this week and the main reason for that is the presence of Novak Djokovic.

He played some stunning tennis over the weekend to capture the ATP Finals title in Turin and while he must now adapt to different conditions, the world number one will have long been prepared for the switch.

Djokovic is a passionate about representing his country and will undoubtedly give one last, big effort in a bid to close another outstanding season with another trophy.

Djokovic looks a ‘lock’ to land a singles point in each tie for the Serbs and he’s got great back-up with three other singles players from the world’s top 60. If any tie is still ‘live’ after the singles, expect Djokovic to play doubles too, as he’s regularly done in the past in this competition.

GB’s chances have been hit by injuries to Dan Evans and Andy Murray but they still can’t be ruled out.

They have two doubles experts in Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski and that could prove crucial against a Serb team lacking such expertise.

Still, they will need a singles win for that to matter so there looks to be plenty of pressure on Jack Draper to win from the number-two slot.

However, he does arrive in fine form having claimed a Challenger Tour title indoors in Bergamo earlier this month, while he reached his maiden ATP Tour final in Sofia the following week.

GB should not be ruled out and their price for the tie will be worth checking.

They will, however, need everything to go right for them and Serbia do look the more likely of the sides to progress.

Overall verdict

While Serbia are favourites and will be hard to beat with Novak Djokovic in their team, I don’t think 9/4 is much of a price.

They could still be vulnerable in the other singles, while a lack of doubles expertise has proved their downfall in the past with Djokovic’s workload high as a result.

The Serbs are in a packed bottom half of the draw – the winners of their tie with Great Britain will face either Italy or the Netherlands in the semi-finals.

Serbia, Italy and GB are the top three in the outright betting with some firms so the value looks to lie on the other side of the draw, certainly from an each-way perspective.

The layers expect Australia to make the final but I’m going to take a chance on CANADA.

Felix Auger-Aliassime has found form at just the right time and captain Frank Dancevic has options for the other singles spot – he’ll surely choose whoever is playing the best in practice.

The fairly fast conditions will suit a team full of big servers and they have the experience of delivering in this competition having reached two of the three finals since the switch to this format.

At almost twice the price of the Aussies, they are backable each way – it’s a third of the odds for a place in the final.

I also can’t resist a small punt on the NETHERLANDS to upset the odds on the tougher side of the draw.

I don’t think Italy are nailed on for victory in the sides’ quarter-final and the Dutch, like Canada, are a team who have consistently performed above expectations in recent years in Davis Cup.

They have two solid singles players and a decent doubles team and the latter is missing from both the Italians and the Serbs on this side of the draw.

That could prove crucial and I believe that the Dutch are therefore overpriced at 20/1.

Posted at 1420 GMT on 20/11/23

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