Australia takes on Belgium in Davis Cup semi-final action. It will be a tough ask for the Australians as it is on their non-preferred clay surface. Meanwhile, France will meet Serbia in the other semi-final. The contest will be held in France and Serbia is without their superstar Novak Djokovic.
Australia’s top ranked player, Nick Kyrgios, has been named in the team to face Belgium. His body and possibly mind has let him down lately, but he will required if Australia are to progress. Joining him is Jordan Thompson (ranked 73) and Thanasi Kokkinakis (ranked 222). Thompson has had some good wins recently including beating Andy Murray. The final member is doubles specialist John Peers.
Fourteenth ranked David Goffin is Belgium’s top player. His form has been steady, without brilliant, and he will be wary of Kyrgios, who recently defeated him 6-2 6-3 in Cincinnati. He will be joined by tour veteran, Steve Darcis, who reached his career high ranking of 38 earlier this year. Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore form the rest of the team.
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Lucas Pouille have been selected to lead France in their semi-final against Serbia. Tsonga (ranked 12) and Puille (ranked 20) edged out compatriots, Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet. Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut will play doubles as they look to overcome Serbia.
Serbia will be up against it without Djokovic. His season-ending injury is further complicated with the absence of Viktor Troicki, who is ranked 52 in the world. Their team is: Dusan Lajovic, Laslo Djere, Filip Krajinovic and their 41-year-old team captain, Nenad Zimonjic, who will play doubles.
The Road to the Semi-Finals
Australia had a convincing first round victory over the Czech Republic 4-1. Their only defeat was a dead-rubber. Australia then defeated the United States 3-2 in the quarters, with Thompson’s first up win over Jack Sock being the much-needed upset.
Belgium disposed of Germany and the Zverev brothers in the opening round of matches. Like Australia, they won 4-1. Goffin returned to Davis Cup action in their quarter-final and his two victories guided the hosts to a 3-2 win.
Sixth-ranked France cruised past Japan in the first round. They then faced Great Britain who was without Andy Murray. The score line was equally lopsided, with a dead-rubber defeat the only blemish.
Serbia knocked over the top ranked Russians in the first round of matches. Troicki and Djokovic set up victory on the first day by winning both their matches. It was a similar result during the quarter-finals where Serbia took an unassailable lead against Spain after day two.
Australia last made the semi-finals in 2015 when they lost to Great Britain 3-2. Australia’s last Davis Cup victory was in 2003, when Lleyton Hewitt and Mark Philippoussis guided them home on Australian soil.
Belgium made their second ever Davis Cup Final in 2015, losing to Great Britain 3-1.
France last won the Davis Cup in 2001. The visitors claimed a famous victory over Australia in the fifth and deciding match. Nicolas Escude was the hero. He not only won the deciding match, but defeated Hewitt in the opening match. Since then they have made the final three times.
Serbia won their only Davis Cup title in 2010. They won both games on the final day to defeat France 3-2. Three years later, they made the final for the second time, but went down to the Czech Republic 3-2.