Davis Cup Qualifiers preview II: Aussies host, Dutch take on understrength Canada
DAVIS Cup qualifiers are set to get underway this weekend, with the traditional format – reverse singles and one doubles – in place for the matches. Over the next three days, we will preview the 12 World Group clashes, with the winners advancing to the Davis Cup Finals in November.
NETHERLANDS vs.  CANADA
Sportcampus Zuiderpark, The Hague, Netherlands | Indoor Clay
The first seed set to fall at the Davis Cup looks to be Canada, who has headed in with a heavily understrength side against a full-strength Dutch outfit, in The Netherlands. Playing on the clay of The Hague, two of the big improvers of the ATP Tour in Van de Zandschulp and Griekspoor will headline the home team’s singles hopes, against far lower-ranked opponents. With no Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Milos Raonic or even Vasek Pospisil, the North American outfit is legitimately sending its “B Team” to Holland.
Schnur and Polansky are both ranked outside the Top 200, with Diez and Galarneau also ranked in the same region, and one of which are specialist doubles players. Polansky is the only one ranked inside the Top 350 for doubles at 175th, and the Dutch have a Top 30 doubles pairing in Koolhof and Middelkoop. Given availabilities, Canada will know it is next to no chance in this tie, whilst Netherlands will pick up the victory to advance to the Davis Cup Finals, increasing their 20th world ranking.
|Captain: Paul Haarhuis||Captain: Frank Dancevic|
|Botic Van de Zandschulp|
BRAZIL vs.  GERMANY
Parque Olimpico Arena Tenis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | Outdoor Clay
A late change to the German team has seen world number three Zverev enter the fold for his first match since getting defaulted in his last tournament. Though he should take care of the Brazilians without too many issues, no doubt playing the tricky Monteiro on the South American’s home court will make the task substantially harder. Without Zverev, Germany looked likely to win, but no guarantees, so the ability to recall Zverev for the clash seems to be a way of catapulting the sixth seeds into the Davis Cup Finals.
Monteiro would be tipped to beat any of the other German players on the Brazilian clay, with Rodrigues Alves and Seyboth Wild inconsistent but capable of upsets. The doubles pairings on both sides are specialist ones, with Puetz and Krawietz inside the Top 15, and Soares and Melo inside the Top 50. Germany will win, but expect Brazil to put up a bit of a fight.
|Captain: Jaime Oncins||Captain: Michael Kohlmann|
Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves
Thiago Seyboth Wild
SLOVAKIA vs.  ITALY
NTC Arena, Brtislava, Slovakia | Indoor Hard
The equal 29th ranked Slovakians have copped a stiff draw and host an Italian side that is only missing Matteo Berrettini from its best singles lineup, with Fabio Fognini the other one in recent times to have pulled on the blue. Even without them, the future of Italian tennis is on show, with 20-year-olds Sinner and Musetti – the latter of whom turned 20 today – always exciting to watch. The pair will go up against Molcan and Gombos who are capable enough – particularly Molcan – but not enough to roll the Italian side that also features Sonego.
The Slovakian doubles pairing will feature Polasek (ranked 13th) and Zelenay (145th) which is not too bad given the Italian’s recent lack of utilising their one specialist doubles player. Bolelli has been named yet again, and should get the gig for this tie, likely to play with Sonego to allow Musetti to cover the singles. With Travaglia the backup singles player, the Italian depth is strong and will cruise through here even with Molcan’s capacity to cause an upset, and a solid specialist Slovakian doubles side.
|Captain: Tibor Toth||Captain: Filippo Volandri|
 AUSTRALIA vs. HUNGARY
Ken Rosewall Arena, Sydney, Australia | Outdoor Hard
The most exciting Australian team in some time lineup in Sydney against a Hungarian outfit the green and gold should comfortably account for on the outdoor hard courts. Fucsovics is a massive danger man in terms of being able to upset anyone on his day, but with no depth in sight for the Hungarians, it is difficult to see where they could pick up a third victory to take out the tie. Popyrin and Kokkinakis being fit and firing is a fantastic sight for tennis and especially the Australian Davis Cup side.
The pair should have no problems against second singles player Piros, whilst Saville and Peers will take down whichever Hungarians decide to play the doubles – none are specialist – with Fucsovics the highest ranked at 238th and no others inside the Top 500. Given de Minaur rarely plays badly in the green and gold, he would be tipped to beat Fucsovics in front of home fans, which means at the least Australia should be able to take a 4-1 win and head to the Davis Cup Finals at year’s end.
|Captain: Lleyton Hewitt||Captain: Zoltan Nagy|
|Alex de Minaur|