Preface – Who Put the Puritans in Charge of ITF Scheduling?
Tennis has the best sense of scheduling of any global sport as fans can build up to big events and then ease off for a few weeks before building up again
How can we be less than one week removed from one of the most physical US Open matches in recent memory and both combatants now potentially play 5 set matches in Europe? That US Open final was so draining that both guys should take some time off, but the ITF scheduling of Grand Slams and international team competitions defies logic every year. If one throws in the ATP and WTA schedules, things get even more convoluted.
France versus Spain – The Pyrenees Are No More
This feels like the heavy weight match-up of the semifinal ties despite Serbia being defending champion with a world #1 player and Argentina having a sleeping giant in Juan Martin del Potro. France might be able to pull the upset if they lock up the doubles point. To do so, Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will need to use their net skills to dominate on the road and on clay. I think France will win the doubles point. Gilles Simon is the type of player Rafael Nadal may not want to face days after the US Open final. Simon will play a lot of long points and he fights hard even if he gets behind. Still, France’s best path to victory lies in winning the two non-Nadal singles matches. Expecting to beat Nadal on clay is a strategy no one would call sound. Therefore, Simon and likely Gasquet (due to surface) will need to beat David Ferrer. Tsonga may play Nadal just to have a punchers chance. Still, I think Spain wins 3-2 with Nadal winning 2 matches and Ferrer winning 1 match.
Serbia versus Argentina – The Order of Saint Sava
Serbia-Argentina is an intriguing match-up for a few reasons. David Nalbandian is talented enough to pull of an upset or two. Juan Martin del Potro is not quite back to top form, but if and when he gets there tennis will have a new contender for Grand Slam glory. Still, Serbia should win this tie in large part because it is in Serbia. Even if Janko Tipsarevic is injured, Viktor Troicki should be able to get 1 point for Serbia in singles. Nenad Zimonjic is one of the top doubles players in the world. That should give Serbia 2 points. Even a tired and potentially gluten laden Novak Djokovic should win 1 point. Therefore, even in the worst case scenario, I think Serbia gets at least 3 points.
This is also going to be a love fest and a bit of a victory lap for Novak Djokovic who has to be the most decorated athlete in Serbia’s history. He has 2 Australian Open titles, 1 Wimbledon title, 1 US Open title, an Olympic Bronze Medal and helped lead Serbia to a Davis Cup title in 2010. The fans should be manic for Nole’s success and this will help versus Argentina.
Spain versus Serbia in the Final ? That would be fun…