The USA, with the most Davis Cup titles, meet Italy, the team bursting with young talent, and Colombia, the team with one of the best doubles pairs in the world. It's going to be exciting.
The United States, Italy and Colombia will face each other at the Pala Alpitour Arena in Turin in Group E of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals.
The group has two outstanding contenders: the Americans – top seeds and with the most Davis Cup titles (32, although the last one was in 2007); and the Italians, a talented and ambitious squad with a sensational group of young players, as well as Fabio Fognini who gives the team character, and a new captain, Filippo Volandri.
They will be joined by Colombia, who have qualified for the Finals for the second time and will have to cope with the absence of Santiago Giraldo, who retired in October 2020.
United States, dreaming of another title
With 12 players in the world's top 100, US captain Mardy Fish has a wide range of players to choose from. He led the team to a 4-0 victory in the Davis Cup by Rakuten Qualifiers 2020 against Uzbekistan, which marked the farewell of a legendary doubles team, the best pair in history, twins Bob and Mike Bryan. They were joined by Reilly Opelka, Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul.
American tennis has been dreaming about another title for a long time. The times when US players dominated the Tour seem to be in the past, although these are times they would like to revive and they seem to be on the right track. Alongside John Isner, who at 36 is still going strong, a new and talented generation is emerging, led by another player of impressive height, Opelka (2.11m compared with Isner's 2.08m).
Alongside them is Fritz – under 25 and ranked in the world top 30. Completing the team are two veterans, 29-year-old Jack Sock, a solid asset in the doubles where he will line up alongside 37-year-old Rajeev Ram, the world doubles No. 4.
Group E will likely host some of the great duels of the Group Stage given the youth of the players. Watch out for Fritz who could be the perfect wildcard for Fish: he dom- inates his record against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini (2-0), Jannik Sinner (1-0), and Lorenzo Sonego (3-2).
Italy, the greatest tennis potential today
Berrettini (25), Sinner (20) and Lorenzo Mussetti (19) represent the present and future of Italian tennis, with Sonego also in the pipeline. But you can't talk about Italy without mentioning Fabio Fognini, talented and passionate in equal measure. Italy comfortably overcame South Korea in the Qualifiers, winning 4-0 in Cagliari.
Berrettini played his first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon in 2021 (the first Italian final- ist since Adriano Panatta at Roland-Garros in 1976) and it likely won't be his last. He is a top-10 player with victories over Dominic Thiem, Roberto Bautista, Karen Khachanov and Felix Auger-Aliassime and his consistency has been confirmed with two titles (Belgrade and Queen's), two other finals and his recent record in the Grand Slams – quarter-finals at Roland-Garros and the US Open, and the last 16 in Australia.
Sinner has become the youngest Italian tennis player to break into the world top 10. His precocious exploits mark him out as one of the men who will dictate the tennis Tour in the future.
Lorenzo Musetti, meanwhile, burst onto the scene in 2021. He has wins over Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka, Diego Schwartzman and Grigor Dimitrov and at the last Roland-Garros he had Novak Djokovic on the ropes, leading him by two sets to love in the last sixteen.
And last but not least, Fognini. Is there anything left to discover about Fabio? At 34 years of age he is the heart and soul of the Italian team and a committed Davis Cup player. He has been defending the colours of Italy for 13 seasons, playing in 22 ties, with a sensational singles record: 23 wins to 9 losses.
In short, it's a combination to be feared!
Colombia, strength in doubles
Colombia achieved a historic victory in the 2020 Qualifiers by beating Argentina - the 2016 Davis Cup champions - for the first time. Colombia's chances in the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals will inevitably come down to the doubles where Alejandro Falla has his two best players: Juan Sebastián Cabal and Robert Farah. But for them to play a decisive role the team must win in singles and all the pressure will be on the shoulders of Daniel Elahi Galan, their No. 1 player who is experiencing a period of re- newal after the departure of Santi Giraldo.
Cabal and Farah, former world No. 1s, will be a tough nut to crack in the Group Stage for the United States and Italy. Together they have 19 titles to their name (including two Grand Slams – Wimbledon and the US Open – both in 2019) and their matches become masterclasses on court. These two doubles matches could hold the key to a place in the quarter-finals, don't miss them!