In preparation for the April 6-8 tie, Nalby and Schwank began their training for the Davis Cup QF.
DelPo and Pico will soon begin their training as well. Over the weekend, DelPo was spotted at La Bombonera, supporting his Boca Jrs. Hopefully, he is feeling rested after the days off, and will be ready to go at the Davis Cup tie.
Marin Cilic and Ivo Karlovic have also been practising in Buenos Aires. Croatia’s other two players are Antonio Veic and Lovro Zovko. It’s a bit surprising that Ivan Dodig wasn’t chosen for the tie.
As expected, ARG DC captain Martin Jaite announced that DelPo and Nalbandian would be playing the singles rubbers. It is expected that Nalby will also play doubles, in the hopes that Argentina secure the tie on the 2nd day. This would mean that DelPo plays no. 54 ranked Karlovic, while Nalby plays no. 23-ranked Cilic on Friday. The expected dubs pairing for ARG is Nalby-Schwank, who were practising together at Parque Roca.
The H2H is 2-0 in favor of Argentina. However, the ties between Argentina and Croatia have always been decided on the third day (in 2002 and 2006), with ARG narrowly edging out Croatia 3-2 each time. This is a challenging tie for ARG and not one to be taken lightly.
In the singles ties, Nalby has a 4-0 H2H against Cilic — again, however, the matches between the two tend to be closely fought out, as was seen when Nalby edged out Cilic in two TBs at Indian Wells this year. Hopefully, Nalby will bring the form he brought to the 2006 tie against Croatia, where he defeated Cilic in straight sets. For the reverse singles, Nalby is a 2-0 in the H2H over Karlovic, although the two have not played each other since 2005, at the Basel tourny.
DelPo, for his part, is 2-1 in the H2H against Karlovic, with their most recent meeting in Miami (where DelPo defeated Karlovic in straight sets). Again, Karlovic is a tricky proposition due to his hard-serving capabilities and the constant pressure that puts on his opponent. DelPo is 4-2 on Cilic, with his most recent win over Cilic coming in Miami. The in-formness of Cilic will definitely play a crucial part in this tie.
The winner of Argentina-Croatia will face the winner of the Czech Republic-Serbia in the SF. I will update with more news as the April 6 tie nears.