Davis Cup: Bamberg Dreams

The big news this week came from Philipp Kohlschreiber, who had to withdraw from the tie due to a stomach illness.  He is replaced on Team Germany by Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.

The draw for the tie took place in Bamberg, Germany.  The day before, both Argentina and Germany attended the official dinner:

Team ARG: Pico needs to learn how to properly knot a tie 🙂

This R1 tie marks Martin Jaite’s first outing as ARG’s DC coach.  Jaite was formerly Nalby’s coach and he shares a friendly rapport with the squad (aka Nalby).

S.O.S: Someone find Pico a proper tailor. And Nalby a proper fitting jacket.

Sartorial issues aside, everyone looks great!  I promise, they look great.  Well, Germany look great.  Ermm … VAMOS ARGENTINA?!  It’s the tennis racquets, not the formal-wear, that do the talking of the business, right?


Friday’s matches:

Monaco vs. Petzschner 

These two have never played each other.  Pico is coming off a winning streak after winning the title at Vina del Mar (breaking a 5-year title drought), while Petzschner’s form has been somewhat streaky as of late.  That said, Petzschner has a game that can be tricky.  Despite his relatively small frame, Petzsch gets plenty of free points off his serve.  The German is also an accomplished doubles player, with an accomplished net game.  If he finds his form on Friday, Petzsch could be a tough out.

Honestly, I don’t know who to pin as the favorite for this rubber.  I have a feeling it will definitely go to 4-5 sets though, with Pico perhaps taking a hard-fought win.

Nalbandian vs. Mayer

The last time these two met at Shanghai in 2011, Nalby lost in straight sets to Mayer.  That said, Mayer has spent the past few weeks recuperating from a hip injury that saw him withdraw from the Oz Open.  He could have to contend with rust.

The indoor clay surface does not suit Nalby’s game.  Also, Nalby commented that the surface at Stechert Arena is somewhat strange.  Add to that the fact that Mayer’s last title came on clay at Bucharest, and suddenly it’s not a stretch to say the surface improves Mayer’s chances for a victory.

I’m hoping the Davis Cup version of Nalby shows up to this match and that he can remain steady both mentally and physically against Mayer’s unconventional game.

Saturday’s matches:

Chela/Schwank vs. Haas/Petzschner

It’s surprising that veteran Tommy Haas wasn’t chosen for Germany’s singles rubbers.  Then again, given his injury concerns, it may be the safest bet to play him for doubles.  From a tennistical perspective, this match will be entertaining as it pits two accomplished doubles teams against each other.

I think the slight edge goes to Team Germany though.  Chela/Scwhank lost in R2 to Melzer/Petzschner at the Oz Open.  While Melzer/Petzscher are an accomplished, long-term doubles team, I can’t help but think the new pairing of Haas/Petzschner may pull off the win — although I would certainly be glad to be proven wrong here.

Sunday’s matches:

If the tie goes live on the third day, the reverse singles will pit Pico against Mayer and Nalby against Petzschner.  Mayer defeated Pico on clay last year at the World Team Championship (which is basically the imitation Davis Cup tournament on the ATP tour), so this reverse singles match should be another close one.

As for Nalby-Petzschner, Nalby easily defeated Petzschner in Auckland last year.  However, the clay surface could once again hinder Nalby — given how Nalby’s been selected to play the singles rubbers, injuries will also be an ever-present concern.


I don’t know if I’m being too pessimistic about Argentina’s chances here.  I guess many things would have to go right in order for Germany to win.  However, Argentina is by no means assured this victory.  In other words, many things would also have to go right for Argentina to win.

If Argentina could just pull through in Germany, they are guaranteed home advantage for every subsequent tie in 2012 (unless they reached the final and met Switzerland, in which case they would be visitors).  This tie in Bamberg is the first and possibly biggest hurdle for ARG.


About mariposaxprs

I play favorites with Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Gilles Simon and the long line of mercurial talent that drives me to despair in front of the screen at odd hours during the week.
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6 Responses to Davis Cup: Bamberg Dreams

  1. ariennalee says:

    Seriously though, all these match-ups are so confusing! It is hard to know which way the tide will turn.
    I do think that Nalby has more mental-emotional fortitude over five sets than Mayer though… so if he can grind him down a bit.. they’re in. Petz can be good though. It all depends on the day. Pico’s recent title should help boost the ego.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      I’m so glad it turned out this way! The DC version of Nalby showed up and proved too steady for Mayer’s funky game. Phew.

      As for Pico, I have to admit, I hadn’t watched too much of Pico in the couple yrs. I guess I’d somewhat unfairly categorized him as the charming player who doesn’t have the results to back up his popularity. Back when he lost to Fed at the USO, he got bagelled in the last set — but Pico played some impressive tennis in that losing venture — I think that’s when I first thought, wow, he’s not just any old player. I’m glad he’s built on that impressive form. Especially this weekend! I really didn’t suspect he’d be the one to deliver the most straightforward result!

  2. queridorafa says:

    Okay, I just spent a good 30 seconds trying to figure out why Nalby was playing singles/how this team was different from the team in December when he didn’t play singles…did Chela play singles in the final…no…then who?…DEL PO. Duh. I think Nalby has a really good chance against Mayer–Mayer’s so streaky and will definitely be rusty. Very surprising they didn’t choose Haas, given his relatively strong showing in Australia. Not sure about Pico…he’s often susceptible to nerves–but the clay should favor him, right? Even if it is weird!
    Love the pics! They all look…kind of miserable except for Chela w/ his ultra-white smile!

    • ariennalee says:

      I love Pico’s clenched fist. He means the bad-ass business this time. No more Mister Nice Guy Lampchop!

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Haha, indeed! The ARG-GER tie looked 50-50 until Kohli had to withdraw due to his illness. Prior to then, there was plenty reason to think ARG wouldn’t be able to pull off the win. So far, Pico played very impressively to get his victory while Nalby battled his demons to make somewhat easy work of Mayer!

      Although they’re 2-0 ahead right now, nothing’s assured yet (being an ARG fan is a lesson in how not to count eggs before they hatch). I’m just hoping the doubles clinches this tie and that they can go into a dead rubber Sunday.

      And yes, I’d like to know the secret to Chela’s ultra-white smile!!! 🙂

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