France will face off against Canada in a Davis Cup World Group first round tie in Guadeloupe, France. The two sides will be meeting for the third time in their histories. The French lead the head-to-head 2-0, with France winning the last encounter 4-1 in Vancouver. The French team have exceptional strength in the depth of their team, with seven players in the top 50. Three of those are ranked in the top 20.
The Canadian team has been dealt a blow with Milos Raonic and Daniel Nestor both ruled out. The Canadian team will be spearheaded by Vasek Pospisil, Frank Dancevic, Philip Bester and Adil Shamasdin. The French have a full squad with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon. The winners will play Germany or the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.
Gael Monfils will play the first rubber for France against Frank Dancevic. The last time Monfils played a singles rubber was against Germany in a thrilling 3-2 win for the French in 2015. He defeated Philipp Kohlscreiber to mount a comeback for France. Gael Monfils has had a good start to the season, making the quarterfinals of the Australian Open as the 23rd seed. He would lose to to Milos Raonic, who is currently unavailable due to injury. However, Monfils continued his good form by making the final of the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, where he lost to an inspired Martin Klizan in three sets. Due to his good start , new French captain Yannick Noah included him in the squad. Frank Dancevic has only played two Futures events this year and has struggled in both, only winning two matches.
In the second rubber, Gilles Simon is to face Canada's main player, Vasek Pospisil. The two have met twice on outdoor hard courts, with each taking a win against one another. Simon did retire in their first meeting. The last time that they faced each other was at the 2016 Australian Open. Simon came through in four sets after dropping the first set. Since then, the Frenchman has hit a poor run of form winning one match from three tournaments. Pospisil has also hit a poor stretch heading into this match. Still, this should be the standout match of the whole weekend.
France Experience Will Show
The two doubles players slated to start for France are Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, two predominant singles players. They have previously played with one another back in 2014, when they beat Chris Guccione and Lleyton Hewitt in the first round. They would also team up in the semifinal of the Davis Cup that year, defeating Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek in four sets. They will likely face Philip Bester, who is back in the team after five years out the fold, and the more experienced Vasek Pospisil. Bester currently plays almost all of his tennis on the ITF circuit and Challenger level. He is a silver medalist at the Pan-American Games, while Pospisil will look to be the leader on court, with the experience of winning Wimbledon in 2015 with Jack Sock. The pair would go on to win three more tournaments together. If Canada stands any chance in this match, Pospisil will need to take command from the first ball played. Expect the French to comfortably sail through this match.
Gael Monfils will kick off the last day of action against Vasek Pospisil, who is likely to play all three days. These two have met twice, with Gael Monfils winning in straight sets. If the last two meetings are anything to go by, then the Frenchman should win this match quite comfortably.
In the fifth rubber, unless there are changes made, Gilles Simon will face Frank Dancevic. The pair have only met once, back in 2009 at the Rogers Cup with Simon coming out on top 6-2, 6-1. Since then, the Frenchman has reached the top ten, while Dancevic has fallen down the rankings to number 245. Expect a straight sets win from Simon.