Defending champions Great Britain will face off against Argentina for a place in the Davis Cup final. The indoor hard courts of Glasgow's Emirates Arena, the venue for last year's first round and semifinal ties, will play host to the British team again as they attempt to make back to back finals.
This will be the fifth meeting between the two teams, with Argentina leading the head-to-head 3-1 and winning their most recent tie back in 2008 in the World Group first round. The only player involved in the last tie that is nominated in the current team is Jamie Murray, who then lost with partner Ross Hutchins in doubles as David Nalbandian led the Argentines to a 4-1 victory in Buenos Aires. This time around, Great Britain's team is far better and will be a much tougher test for a strong Argentinian team.
Great Britain's team captain Leon Smith originally named a six-man team to take to Glasgow ahead of the tie, with the spot of the second singles player looking uncertain as both Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans had very impressive runs at the US Open. But after a few days of practice, Smith made his choice and Edmund will take the second singles spot, with his experience leading the team to victory in Serbia in the quarterfinals likely giving him the edge over Evans. Andy Murray, who goes into the tie on a fourteen match win streak at Davis Cup, will once again play all three days. He'll play alongside his older brother, newly crowned US Open doubles champion, Jamie Murray in the crucial doubles rubber.
Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro will make his return to Davis Cup singles for the first time in four years on Friday. Del Potro alongside Guido Pella will take the two singles spots on the team, the opposite of the quarterfinals where they played together in doubles. This time around the Argentinian doubles team will be Federico Delbonis and Leonardo Mayer. Delbonis has only ever played one doubles rubber which he lost, and Mayer won two doubles rubbers last year on route to the semifinals.
Blockbuster day one
The tie will kick off with a bang on Friday as we see a rematch of this year's epic Olympic final. Andy Murray will face off against Juan Martin del Potro with each player looking to get their team off to a lead that will likely set the tone for the rest of the tie. Murray and del Potro both have great records in Davis Cup singles. Del Potro has twelve wins and four losses in singles, with only one of the losses coming before the final and that was nine years ago in 2007. Murray's record is nothing short of outstanding. He has twenty-nine wins and only two losses in singles and has never lost a Davis Cup singles match on hard court or in a home tie.
We are likely to see another closely contested epic between these two who always come up with their best tennis when playing for their country. Although unlike the Olympic final, the crowd will be on Murray's side. With Murray playing some of the best tennis of his career right now and with his second Wimbledon title and Olympic gold already under his belt this year, he's the favorite to come away with the win to get Great Britain off to a winning start, but del Potro is definitely capable of causing an upset.
Kyle Edmund will take on Guido Pella in the second rubber of the day. Both players are relatively inexperienced in Davis Cup ties, with this being the third nomination for each of them. Pella has one victory in singles and one in doubles, while Edmund has two singles wins and one loss. Pella's one win came in the first round this year with a straight sets win over Poland's Michal Przysiezny. Both of Edmund's wins came in the quarterfinals this year, where he beat Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic and Dusan Lajovic convincingly without dropping a set.
The pair have met once before in Indian Wells this year, where Pella edged a tight three-set victory. Both guys will be looking to prove themselves on the big stage and will come out fighting, but Edmund's huge forehand, the energetic home crowd and the confidence that comes with a fourth round run at the US Open will give him the advantage.
The Murray Brothers will team up again to take on the Argentinian pair of Federico Delbonis and Leonardo Mayer. Delbonis and Mayer have only ever won one match together, against another Great Britain team member Dominic Inglot and his former partner Treat Huey. Mayer and Delbonis are unlikely to be any kind of match for Andy and Jamie Murray. Both are having the best season of their careers, and Jamie Murray's sublime net skills backed up by Andy Murray's incredible returning will make life very difficult for the Argentines. Although, if Great Britain were 2-0 up after the first day, del Potro stepping in for Delbonis wouldn't be a surprise. Either way, Britain will once again go into this match as the favorites and the outcome of this match could seal the win for Britain early.
Andy Murray will take to the Glasgow courts for the third day in a row to face Guido Pella in the first of the reverse singles matches. This will be the first meeting between the pair and Murray will have a clear advantage. Playing Murray in top form in front of one of the most passionate crowds in tennis will be very tough for Pella, but Davis Cup always brings out the best in young players and he'll no doubt relish the thought of playing against the British number one in that kind of atmosphere.
Juan Martin del Potro and Kyle Edmund have two of the best forehands in tennis. With del Potro being the far more experienced of the two, he will go into the match as the clear favorite. Whatever the outcome, we are likely to see some great rushing tennis. Getting on the front foot and unleashing the crushing forehand weapon as soon as possible will be the goal for both. Edmund recently upset John Isner at the US Open, so we know he is capable of absorbing the big hitters, but del Potro is a class above that of the American and even taking a set would be a big ask.
Prediction – Great Britain 4 – Argentina 1