Davis Cup Semis- Russia vs Croatia
by: Filip Malaric
In the first round of this year’s Davis Cup, Ljubicic and Ancic overcame a strong U.S. team in the U.S., including Agassi, Roddick, and the Bryan brothers, three matches to two. Again in the quarterfinals in Split, Ljubicic and Ancic led their Croatian Davis Cup team to victory against Romania. They will now meet Russia in semis who defeated France in their quarterfinal round. The same stadium in Split will be used for the semis.
Our team will be the same with Ljubicic, Ancic, Karlovic, and Tuksar. Ljubicic and Ancic will most likely play doubles. They are a great team and they communicate and work together well. They will probably be playing singles as well and their huge serves will get another boost on the fast surface. Karlovic and Tuksar are kept as reserves if one of the main players are unable to play. Surprisingly, Nikola Pilic, our Davis Cup coach, has never beaten Russia while coaching.
The Russians have an extremely strong team in Safin, Davydenko, Andreev, and Youzhny. Marat Safin who is currently no. 5 in the world has still not confirmed if he will play. No. 7 in the world, Nikolay Davydenko, has been having the best year of his career. He doesn’t have a huge weapon but is a very consistent all-around player who can cause us trouble. Mikhail Youzhny and Igor Andreev will most likely play doubles but, against France, they seemed rusty and did not communicate well.
The semis against Russia will definitely be challenging. If our doubles team can secure their win, we will have a great advantage. This is the first time Croatia has advanced to the semis.