- Belgium overcame Germany 4-1 in the first round even though they were without talisman David Goffin. He returned to help seal a 3-2 victory over Italy in the quarter-finals, but has missed a large chunk of the summer due to an ankle injury and was hampered by a knee problem as he went down to Andrey Rublev in the fourth round of the US Open.
- Australia cruised past Czech Republic in the last 16 and then saw off the United States 3-2 in the quarter-finals. Nick Kyrgios won both of his singles rubbers in that tie in straight sets, against John Isner and Sam Querrey, and recently thrashed Goffin in Cincinnati. However, Kyrgios is also under a fitness cloud after hurting his shoulder during a first-round defeat at the US Open.
- France opened their Davis Cup campaign with a 4-1 hammering of Japan, before brushing aside a Great Britain team missing Andy Murray by the same scoreline. Lucas Pouille and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are expected to compete in the singles against Serbia, although neither are in great form having exited the US Open early.
- Serbia demolished Russia 4-1 in the first round and did the same to a strong Spain side in the last eight, but will be without Novak Djokovic in Lille after the 12-time Grand Slam ended his season early due to injury. Dusan Lajovic, who will be Serbia’s top singles player against France, is ranked 80th in the world.
France are the clear favourites to win the 2017 Davis Cup and it is hard to make a case against them. In a year where many of the top players have been ravaged by injuries, France captain Yannick Noah at least has a lot of depth at his disposal. Gael Monfils’ withdrawal due to injury should not hurt France too much, while Serbia have been decimated by the losses of not only Djokovic, but also Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic. France also have the strongest doubles pairing of any team left in the competition, in the form of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, which could prove to be the difference in the end.
The other semi-final should be a much closer contest. Belgium have home advantage and have chosen to play the tie on indoor clay, which will not be to the liking of Australia’s stars Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis. Kyrgios will probably have to win both of his singles rubbers for Australia to have a chance, including the eagerly-awaited clash with Goffin, and is certainly capable of spoiling the Belgian party.
It is also worth noting that, assuming France do get to the final, they would be at home to Belgium but away to Australia due to the Davis Cup system of alternating venues against each opponent. Australia could therefore be worth a punt now to go all the way at decent odds of 3/1, in the hope that they will topple Belgium and then have home advantage against the stronger France.
Sports.net’s top tip:
Australia to win the Davis Cup
Please note, odds may fluctuate.