After a fantastic week across four venues, we now know the eight teams that will compete in the 2022 Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals Knockout Stage, which will take place in Malaga on 22-27 November.
Italy v USA – 24 November
Filippo Volandri’s side topped Group A in Bologna and look like they will be one of the teams to beat when the Final 8 kicks off in a couple of months’ time. Matteo Berrettini picked up three singles victories and with Jannik Sinner in the team, the Italians have a formidable No. 1 and No. 2.
USA booked its place in Malaga thanks to victories over Great Britain and Kazakhstan in Glasgow, but fell to Netherlands, meaning it finished as Group B runner-up. Captain Mardy Fish, who was forced to watch on from afar while recovering from Covid-19, will be particularly pleased with his doubles team, Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock, who scored tight wins against the Brits and the Dutch.
Germany v Canada – 24 November
Germany topped Group C after winning all three ties in Hamburg and it was a memorable week for Jan-Lennard Struff as well as the doubles duo of Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz. Every tie went the same way: Struff put his side 1-0 up and Krawietz and Puetz clinched the decisive doubles.
The Germans will face Canada in the quarter-finals, after Frank Dancevic’s side showed they could be ones to watch after defeating Spain in a dramatic encounter at the Pabellon Fuente de San Luis in Valencia. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Vasek Pospisil combined to great effect, with the former showing why he has been as high as world No.8.
Australia v Netherlands – 22 November
Arguably the biggest surprise of the Group Stage came with Netherlands topping Group D in Glasgow. Paul Haarhuis’ team was led by an inspired Botic van de Zandschulp, who won all three of his singles matches, including straight-sets victories against world No.8 Cameron Norrie and No.12 Taylor Fritz.
The Dutch will take on Group C runners-up Australia in the Final 8. Lleyton Hewitt’s Aussie team overcame Belgium and France during the Group Stage, but came up short against hosts Germany. It was a real team effort from the men in gold, with everyone in the five-man squad finishing with at least one win to their name.
Croatia v Spain – 23 November
Host Spain was made to wait until the last day in Valencia before booking its place in the Final 8. The return of world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz to play on home soil after winning the US Open caused more than a little stir of excitement in Valencia, but it was Davis Cup stalwart Roberto Bautista Agut who was the only player to win three points for his team. Alcaraz did seal Spain’s spot with his first victory in this competition at this level.
Spain will be rewarded for its efforts with a blockbuster clash against Croatia – the highest ranked nation in Davis Cup. The Croatians progressed thanks to scoring wins against Argentina and Sweden in Bologna. In the absence of Marin Cilic, it was Borna Coric’s turn to lead the team and he stepped up to the plate, delivering two fine wins over Mikael Ymer and Francisco Cerundolo.