DAVIS CUP WORLD GROUP FIRST ROUND 2012
Federer Leads Five Top 10 Players In Davis Cup Action
by ATP Staff|
This weekend sees 16 nations contest the 2012 Davis Cup World Group first round, with five Top 10 players in the South African Airways ATP Rankings representing their countries.
SWITZERLAND VS USA
Clay, Indoors – Fribourg, Switzerland
In the blockbuster tie of the first round, World No. 3 Roger Federer leads Switzerland in its bid to win the Davis Cup trophy for the first time, following a runner-up effort in 1992. The 30-year-old Federer has a 30-6 singles record in the ITF men's team competition, most recently guiding his nation to a 3-2 win over Australia in the World Group play-offs at Sydney in September. World No. 28 Stanislas Wawrinka also lines up for the host nation and looks to improve on a 14-10 singles record.
World No. 8 Mardy Fish spearheads the challenge of nine-time champion United States. The 30 year old was on the team that was beaten by Spain in the 2011 quarter-finals and will make his 11th Davis Cup appearance. The No. 17-ranked John Isner is playing in just his fourth tie after helping the Americans to a 4-1 first-round away win against Chile on clay last year. Bob Bryan is absent from the team after the birth of his first child last week, but his twin brother Mike Bryan returns with a 19-2 doubles record.
SPAIN VS KAZAKHSTAN
Clay, Indoors - Oviedo, Spain
World No. 11 Nicolas Almagro leads Spain as it begins its Davis Cup title defence at home, on clay, versus Kazakhstan. The 26-year-old Almagro is playing in just his third Davis Cup tie and is joined on the Spanish team by No. 27-ranked Marcel Granollers, former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero and doubles World No. 42 Marc Lopez. Spain clinched its fifth Davis Cup title last year with victory over Argentina in Seville, after which, Alex Corretja took over the captaincy from Albert Costa.
World No. 61 Mikhail Kukushkin spearheads Kazakhstan's daunting challenge to attempt to hand Spain its first home defeat since 1999. He is supported by World No. 132 Andrey Golubev, No. 201 Yuri Schukin and No. 297 Evgeny Korolev. Kazakhstan made its debut in the World Group last year, reaching the quarter-finals (l. to Czech Republic).
AUSTRIA VS RUSSIA
Hard, Indoors - Wiener Neustadt, Austria
Austria suffered a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of France in the first round last year and will look to bounce back strongly in 2012 when it faces Russia for the third time. World No. 41 Jurgen Melzer has a 16-21 Davis Cup singles record and leads the Austrian team hoping to win the Davis Cup title for the first time this year. World No. 34 Alex Bogomolov Jr., making his debut in the Davis Cup, leads the opposing Russian side as it embarks on a campaign to win its third World Group crown. He is joined by last week's PBZ Zagreb Indoors champion Mikhail Youzhny.
CANADA VS FRANCE
Hard, Indoors –Vancouver, Canada
Led by 2011 Newcomer of the Year, Milos Raonic, Canada makes its first appearance since 2004 in the elite World Group. In the tie, to be played on indoor hard court in Vancouver, Canada is set to come up against a strong French squad, spearheaded by World No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who has a 7-2 Davis Cup singles record, and last week's Open Sud de France runner-up Gael Monfils. Nine-time champion France was beaten in the semi-finals by Spain last year and is bidding to win the title for the first time since 2001.
CZECH REPUBLIC VS ITALY
Hard, Indoors - Ostrava, Czech Republic
Former champion Czech Republic looks to banish the memory of last year's first-round home defeat to Kazakhstan by beating Italy in its 2012 opener. World No. 7 Tomas Berdych, who was part of the Czech team that reached the final in 2009 (l. to Spain), leads the home nation's challenge with a 16-11 singles record, and is joined by World No. 30 Radek Stepanek, the recent winner of the Australian Open doubles crown with Leander Paes. Italy is making its first World Group appearance in more than a decade and will look to Simone Bolelli, Daniele Bracciali, Andreas Seppi and Potito Starace to cause an upset in Ostrava.
SERBIA VS SWEDEN
Hard, Indoors - Nis, Serbia
In a re-match of the 2011 quarter-finals, Serbia faces Sweden on a hard indoor court in Nis, but minus World No. 1 and recent Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic. Instead, World No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic leads the home team, looking to regain the Davis Cup crown it won in 2010 with victory over France. Doubles World No. 6 Nenad Zimonjic is also on the team, along with the man who clinched victory for Serbia in the 2010 final, Viktor Troicki. Without Robin Soderling, still recovering from mononucleosis, seven-time champion Sweden is led by World No. 348 Michael Ryderstedt, with recent Australian Open doubles semi-finalist Robert Lindstedt also featuring.
JAPAN VS CROATIA
Hard, Indoors - Hyogo, Japan
After gaining promotion last year, Japan is contesting the World Group competition for the first time in 27 years. Japan's highest-ever ranked player in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, Kei Nishikori, will look to build on his recent run to the Australian Open quarter-finals (l. to Murray) and lead his nation into the last eight. World No. 55 Ivan Dodig leads the Croatian challenge and is supported by Ivo Karlovic. The visiting nation won the Davis Cup title in 2005.
GERMANY VS ARGENTINA
Clay, Indoors – Bamberg, Germany
Three-time Davis Cup champion Germany faces four-time finalist Argentina for a place in the World Group quarter-finals. World No. 21 Florian Mayer is making his seventh appearance and has a 4-5 record. He is joined on the German team by Philipp Kohlschreiber, Philipp Petzschner and former World No. 2 Tommy Haas. Last year's finalist Argentina is without Juan Martin del Potro and is instead led by World No. 25 Juan Ignacio Chela and last week's VTR Open champion Juan Monaco. Former World No. 3 David Nalbandian also returns with a 22-5 singles record.
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