Argentina fell into group A and will have to deal with Croatia, Italy and Sweden

The Argentine Davis Cup team, whose captain is Guillermo Coria and whose top figure is Diego Schwartzman, will share Group A of the 2022 Finals with Italy, Croatia and Sweden, in the group stage that will be played in Bologna between the September 23 and 27.

The ceremony was carried out by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Kosmos group in the Spanish city of Malaga, which will be the venue where the winner of the most famous Salad Bowl in the world will be defined in the final phase to be played between 23 and on November 27.

The “albiceleste” team, Davis champion for the only time in its history in 2016, when under another format it won four series, against Poland, Italy, Great Britain and the final against Croatia in Zagreb, had a favorable draw because it avoided the greatest powers of current tennis, such as Spain or Serbia, or very dangerous rivals such as Germany and Canada.


Diego Schwartzman celebrates and Guillermo Coria applauds during the series against the Czech Republic. Photo: Fernando de la Orden.

Spain, Canada, Serbia and South Korea, meanwhile, make up group B, which may be called the death zone. There, if there were no unforeseen events, a new chapter awaits in the rivalry between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovicthe most repeated in history on the professional circuit. In addition, there are five other players from those countries in the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings who could face each other: Carlos Alcaraz (9th), Felix Auger-Aliassime (10th), Denis Shapovalov (16th), Pablo Carreño Busta (18th). and Roberto Bautista Agut (19th).

Argentina would meet the winner of this zone in the quarterfinals if they finish second in their group. On the other hand, if he finishes as leader, he would be paired with the second of the D, which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, and will include the participation of the United States, the United Kingdom, Kazakhstan and the Netherlands. Meanwhile, in zone C will be France, Germany, Belgium and Australia, which will be eliminated in Hamburg.

how to play

This year’s format contemplates that the first two countries of each group will advance to the Final Phase, which will be played in Malaga in November. The Canadian team was invited to the Finals to replace Russia, which was excluded due to the war that began with Ukraine.

In each crossing between countries of the same group, two singles and one doubles will be played, all to the best of three sets. Of the 16 participating countries, only the best two of each group will advance to the elimination stage of the Finals, which is equivalent to a of quarterfinals.

Argentina’s rivals

Matteto Berrettini during the 2021 ATP Cup, which had Italy as runner-up.  Photo: David Gray/EFE/EPA.

Matteto Berrettini during the 2021 ATP Cup, which had Italy as runner-up. Photo: David Gray/EFE/EPA.

Although Croatia is the first pre-classified, as the current runner-up and leader of the ranking of nations, the most difficult rival that Argentina will have will be Italy with world number 6 Matteo Berrettini in the lead.

Berrettini has been in the top ten for two and a half years and was a Grand Slam finalist, but his present is not the best due to injuries. Abdominal problems forced him to withdraw from his debut in Acapulco against Tommy Paul and later, once recovered, he announced that he was withdrawing from the Miami Masters 1000 because he had to undergo surgery for an injury to his right hand. There are no deadlines for his return yet.

Jannik Sinnertoday 12th in the world ranking, would be the second singles player. He is the third player with the best percentage of victories in the year (82.6%), only behind Nadal (95.2%) and Alcaraz (88.5%). He accumulates 19 wins and four losses. He lost those matches to Zverev (3rd), Tsitsipas (4th), Hurkacz (11th), and Francisco Cerúndolo through retirement.

They would complete the finalist of the ATP Cup 2021, who fell to the suspended Russia in the definition, Lorenzo Sonego (27th)the unpredictable and talented Fabio Fognini (50°) and the rising Lorenzo Musetti (61st).

Marin Cilic, an old acquaintance of the Argentines.  Photo: Reuters

Marin Cilic, an old acquaintance of the Argentines. Photo: Reuters

Croatia, for its part, has one of the best doubles pairs in the world: Mate Pavic (3rd) and Nikola Mektic (6th). Together they raised nine titles, including a Grand Slam, three M1000 and the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. For the singles a deteriorated appears Marin Cilic Y Borna Gojothe big surprise in the 2021 Croatian runner-up with wins over Popyrin, Sonego and Lajovic.

Sweden is on paper the weakest rival in the group and against which Argentina should have no problems. Led by Robin Soderling, he has just beaten Japan in the Qualifiers at the hands of Elias Ymer (130°), Dragos Nicolae Madaras (336°) Y Andre Goransson (71st in doubles). Anyway, the first singlist would be Mikael Ymer (97°)who did not play against the Japanese due to a wrist injury.

Argentina won one of the 16 places available for the group stage of the Finals last March, after beating the Czech Republic 4-0 in Buenos Aires and will have the opportunity to return to the Davis elite in the who was last in 2019 -in his area he beat Chile, lost to Germany and then fell in the quarterfinals against Spain-.

Background

Doing a bit of history and going through the archives, Argentina already has a history with the three rivals it will face in Bologna.

He played with Italy four times, with two wins for eachwith the curiosity that neither of them won at home.

The first confrontation was in 1983 at the Foro Italico in Rome and Argentina won 5-0, while the second was at the Municipal Patinódromo de Mar del Plata in 2014 and the victory was for the Europeans 3-1.

The third time they faced each other was in 2016 when Argentina won the Circolo Tennis Baratoff, in Pesaro, 3-1 and advanced to the semifinals that they would later beat Great Britain, in Glasgow. The last confrontation was 2017 in an improvised field in Parque Sarmiento, in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Saavedra, and Italy won the series 3-2 with Fognini as a figure and the curious fact that he is the only one who was in the last three series.

Against Croatia, history is widely favorable to Argentina by 4-0, with the outgoing victory achieved in Zagreb on November 27, 2016 with Juan Martín Del Potro as leader and Federico Delbonis dressed as a hero with his historic triumph in the fifth point over Ivo Karlovic, who allowed the trophy to be lifted. Argentina’s previous triumphs were in 2002 at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis by 3-2, in 2006 in Zagreb also by 3-2 and in 2012 at the Parque Roca de Villa Soldati by 4- one.

Meanwhile, with the Swedes the record is favorable by 3-2 with victories achieved in the Davis editions of 2006 and 2008 in Parque Roca, and in 2012 in Stockholm. The victories of the Scandinavians were in 1983 in Stockholm and in 2007 at the Svenska Massan stadium, in the city of Gothenburg.

The series will be played on indoor courts and on fast surfaces, which could conspire against the chances of Argentina, which has a team more adapted to be strong on clay.

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