2023 Davis Cup Qualifiers preview: Part IV

IN the final of four parts previewing the Davis Cup Qualifiers, we take a look at the next three matches taking place this weekend across the globe. There are 12 matches all up, with the winner of each match qualifying for the Davis Cup Finals in November, while the loser of each match goes into World Group playoffs.


Date: February 4-5
Venue: MartiniPlaza Groningen (Netherlands)
Surface: Hard (Indoor)

The higher ranked Netherlands will be minus an injured Botic Van de Zandschulp, as the European nation faces Slovakia at home in Groningen on Saturday.

Van de Zandschulp confirmed an injury from his opening tournament which hampered him at the Australian Open, meaning the player that knocked him off – compatriot Tallon Griekspoor – will take over the mantle of top ranked singles player.

He will be paired up with Tim van Rijthoven who sits just outside the Top 100, while doubles specialists Wesley Koolhof and Matwe Middelkoop are a hard combination to beat.

Slovakia has a couple of solid players with 53rd ranked Alex Molcan capable of causing an upset, wile the 32-year-old Norbert Gombos cannot be taken lightly. The issue will come in the doubles, with only Igor Zelenay (117th) ranked in the Top 400 for the format.

The youngest member of the Slovakian team, Lukas Klein (24 years-old) might get a crack as well, ranked 141st in the world. Despite having a pretty solid tam and Netherlands missing Van de Zandschulp, the Dutch should still be too strong and win at least four of the matches.


Date: February 4-5
Venue: Espoo Metro Areena (Finland)
Surface: Hard (Indoor)

Argentina is in real danger of dropping outside the World Group, with a patched-up South American outfit taking on Finland on the road at Espoo Metro Areena. Though Finland could hardly claim to have great depth, the two youngsters at the helm punch above their weight, and with a Top 15 doubles player, Finland has enough to worry the Argentinians.

Emil Ruusuvuori is a future Top 20 player, ranked 46th in the world, while 21-year-old Otto Virtanen is 178th overall. In the doubles, Harri Heliovaara is ranked 11th to provide his experience in that format, while Patrik Niklas-Salminen (134th) could also be called upon to provide star Ruusuvuori with some rest.

Argentina is missing a stack of top players which would make this an easy tie, with Francisco Cerundolo headlining the nation’s bid to head back to the Davis Cup Finals. Cerundolo is ranked 29th in the world, but not as effective not on clay, while Pedro Cachin has remarkably snuck up to 58th.

Veteran Facundo Bagnis is the backup just inside the Top 100, with the doubles pairing of Andres Molteni and Maximo Gonzalez a strong Top 50 duo. On paper Argentina still wins, but Finland at home on the hard courts have the potential to make history and reach the Davis Cup Finals for the first time in the nation’s history, ranked 28th in the world.


Date: February 4-5
Venue: Complexo Municipal de Tenis da Maia (Portugal)
Surface: Clay (Indoor)

The final tie of the Davis Cup weekend is Portugal up against Czech Republic, as the former earned the home court advantage and naturally chose the clay. In one of the lowest quality ties in terms of seedings, the 17th ranked Czech Republic will be favourites over the 33rd ranked Portugal.

Czech Republic enter with the two rising talents of the ATP Tour, Jiri Lehecka and Tomas Machac. Both have enjoyed some terrific form in January, with Lehecka going deep at the Australian Open. There is not a great deal of depth after those two, but Vit Kopriva (151st) is a handy backup.

On hard courts, Czech Republic would be tipped to win all the singles, but top ranked Portugese singles player Joao Sousa is in his element on clay, with the 81st ranked veteran likely to use all his experience in front of a home crowd.

He teams up with Nuno Borges (111th in singles, 114th in doubles), who could be asked to play both formats, while the doubles specialist in Francisco Cabral (55th in the world) gives the home nation an advantage there. Czech Republic should still be too strong, but the clay courts means the home country will make a good fist of it.

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