Great Britain face tough opening match in 2015 Davis Cup
The 2015 Davis Cup gets under way this week and there are some great fixtures to look forward to. Andy Murray leads Great Britain against the USA while reigning champions Switzerland have a tricky away tie in Belgium.
On the WTA Tour there are hard courts events in Monterrey and Kuala Lumpur. Keep reading for our preview of all this week’s tennis action.
Davis Cup first round
The 104th edition of the international men’s tennis tournament kick off this weekend with eight intriguing matches across the world.
Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka guided Switzerland to their first Davis Cup win in 2014 and the second seeds get their defence under way with a tricky match against Belgium on the hard courts in Liege. Federer beat rival Novak Djokovic last week to win his seventh Dubai title but will need to be on good form to beat top 25 player David Goffin.
Last year’s runners-up, France, are the top seeds and they face Germany in Frankfurt. Top 30 players Gilles Simon, Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet will play and they should see off a German side led by Philipp Kohlschreiber.
As ever, Great Britain will be heavily reliant on Andy Murray in their tie against the USA in Glasgow. GB were victorious when these two sides met in San Diego last year but Murray’s form has been poor since the Australian Open although he will have the incentive of playing in front of a passionate Scottish crowd.
There is the Davis Cup equivalent of a local derby in Kraljevo as Novak Djokovic leads 2010 winners Serbia against a powerful Croatia side featuring Marin Cilic and Borna Coric, the youngster who comfortably beat Andy Murray last week.
In the other ties Brazil face Argentina, Italy should beat Kazakhstan and Japan face Canada. While the Czech Republic have a great recent record in the tournament they face a dangerous Australia team who can call on youngsters Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios.
The WTA travels to the Far East in March for the BMW Malaysian Open. Won by Alisa Kleybanova at its inaugural staging in 2010, Kuala Lumpur has seen some unlikely winners over recent years including Jelena Dokic, Hsieh Su-Wei, the second Taiwanese to secure a WTA title, and Karolina Pliskova.
Donna Vekic won the title in a hard fought three set final last year and, at just 17 years old, the Croatian became the WTA’s youngest titlist in almost seven years.
Caroline Wozniacki is the top seed and has continued her climb up the rankings this year. Now the world number five, the Dane becomes the highest ranked player to participate in this event since 2011.
Other top names who have confirmed their participation include 2012 winner Hsieh Su-wei, Kazakhstan’s world number 33 Zarina Dyas and Australians Casey Dellacqua and Jarmilla Gajdosova. Sabine Lisicki has also accepted a wildcard entry.
Abierto Monterrey Afirme
The WTA Tour heads to the capital city of México’s north eastern state of Nuevo León this week. Monterrey is México’s second richest city and hosted a WTA event for the first time in 2009 at the Sierra Madre Tennis Club.
She may have dropped to number 40 in the world but the woman to beat in Monterrey this week is the 23 year old Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The former world number 13 has won this tournament on three occasions and the 2010, 2011 and 2013 champion has a terrific record at this event.
Pavlyuchenkova may find it tough this week however as there are some strong top twenty players in attendance. Jelena Jankovic may have been forced to withdraw through injury but world number 6 Ana Ivanovic won this tournament last year and is the top seed while Eugenie Bouchard will also provide a strong challenge.
It may also be worth keeping an eye out for recent Rio Open winner Sara Errani and good friends Caroline Garcia and Timea Bacsinsky. The French and Swiss players are both ranked in the world’s top 40 and met each other for the first time in the final of the Acapulco event last week – Bacsinsky winning 6-3 6-0 on that occasion.