Davis Cup Betting: Argentina to upset the odds
Juan Martin del Potro is Argentina's star man but Juan Monaco will have a big role to play of his own
"Much will depend on fitness in this clash, with question marks over Nalbandian, Djokovic and Tipsarevic on that score. So despite the Serbs being clear favourites, it could pay to back the visitors, in what is the first ever meeting of these two nations in Davis Cup."
Rafael Nadal and his mates should come good on the clay of Cordoba but over in Serbia an exhausted Novak Djokovic may find it a little much to lead his country to victory over a strong-looking Argentina side, after his US Open exhertions.
The US Open may be over for another year, but there's not a great deal of opportunity for the top players in the world to relax, as many are involved in this weekend's Davis Cup clashes.
The semi finals of the 2011 Davis Cup will take place in Cordoba, where Spain take on France, and Belgrade, where Serbia face Argentina.
Rafa Nadal, fresh - or not so fresh more likely - from that bruising battle with Novak Djokovic in New York, travelled to Spain the day after the US Open final to acclimatise to the clay once more.
The hosts have a 5-2 head-to-head winning record over the French, but the visitors memorably thrashed Spain 5-0 in last year's Davis Cup quarter finals.
Indeed, Spain haven't lost a Davis Cup tie at home since a 1999 loss to Brazil, and the French have lost three of their last five ties away from home.
With Gael Monfils out, the French look suspect on Spain's chosen clay-courts. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's record on the surface is poor, and consequently he only plays in the doubles.
Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon can be effective on the clay, but neither have beaten Nadal or David Ferrer on the dirt and it seems unlikely that that stat will alter this weekend.
The doubles will be Michael Llodra and Tsonga against Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez and that match is pretty even, but it's hard to see even a fatigued Rafa losing to Gasquet or Simon on the dirt.
The world number two has only ever lost one Davis Cup singles rubber - and that was back in 2004 to Jiri Novak on hard whilst Ferrer is 10-0 in Davis Cup matches on clay, so this one should go to Spain at around [1.18].
Serbia's clash with Argentina is slightly less clear cut, but Djokovic will play the opening match against David Nalbandian, which gives the holders a big boost.
This match takes place on an indoor hard-court, which gives Nalbandian a slight chance, as he won on the only occasion that this pair have met under those conditions, but it was back in 2007 and not really relevant to the players they have become since.
Juan Martin Del Potro has every chance against Janko Tipsarevic and holds a 2-0 head-to-head against Tipsy, but the pivotal rubber in this one will probably be Delpo against Djokovic - the fourth rubber.
The big Argentine has never beaten Djokovic, but he surely has a shot against a fatigued Nole on a quick indoor surface.
The doubles could go the way of the Argentines, with Nenad Zimonjic, despite being ranked number three in the world, having lost three of his last four Davis Cup doubles rubbers.
Much will depend on fitness in this clash, with question marks over Nalbandian, Djokovic and Tipsarevic on that score. So despite the Serbs being clear favourites, it could pay to back the visitors, in what is the first ever meeting of these two nations in Davis Cup.
You can get [3.6] about an away win and it might be worth taking that because if anything happens to Djoker or Tipsy, the back-up in Viktor Troicki is in dreadful form at the moment.
Elsewhere, British tennis fans will no doubt feel the need to suffer their Euro/Africa Group II clash at home to Hungary at Glasgow's Braehead Arena, which is being shown live on British Eurosport.
The winners will be promoted to Group I, which is one behind the World Group and contains such tennis nations as Finland, Poland and Israel, but also Roger Federer's Switzerland (unless they win their clash with Australia this weekend).
Britain are around [1.05] for this one and I won't be putting a penny of my cash on that, bearing in mind Britain lost to Hungary the last time the teams met in 1993.
The hosts should cruise it of course, with Andy Murray in the team, as Hungary's main man is world number 262, Attila Balazs, backed up by number 880, Kornel Bardoczky.
Ross Hutchins and Colin Fleming reached the last four in the US Open doubles and this one will probably go to Britain by a score of 3-1 or 3-0 if James Ward brings his best tennis to Glasgow.
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