There’s no ATP fantasy tennis this week because it’s time for Davis Cup. So let’s pick that instead. First, let’s recap last week.

Rear View Mirror – A look at last week’s picks.

Miserable. Just miserable. Gael Monfils forgot to enter the Bucharest Open so he qualified and took out my guy Filippo Volandri in the first round. Nicolas Almagro retired in his first match and only one ranked player got to the semifinals. My only remaining player was Tommy Robredo. He got to the final in Beijing and lost to Fernando Gonzalez who decided it was time to win his first matches on hard court since March.

Davis Cup

The US is one match away from getting to the Davis Cup final. So is Sweden. The two countries will meet on a super fast indoor carpet surface in Gothenburg, Sweden, to see which one gets there.

The US is lucky because Sweden’s Robin Soderling will miss the tie. That leaves Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman and Thomas Johansson to battle with Andy Roddick and James Blake in singles. It looks like the US would have to work hard to lose this tie.

Bjorkman got to the quarterfinal at Marseille on indoor hard court earlier this year, but he beat two clay court players to get there and that was the last time he’s done well at an indoor event since 2005. He’s 2-4 against Roddick and 0-2 against Blake.

Thomas Johansson got to the final at St. Petersburg on carpet last year but he’s 0-5 against Roddick and 0-2 against Blake.

There are a few problems however. Strange things happen when players get patriotic in front of their home crowd. Blake is 11-7 in Davis Cup which is not overwhelming. His record in five set matches is 1-10. And then there’s that second Johansson.

Joachim Johansson has been out since the Australian Open and he missed much of last year with shoulder surgery. But if he’s slightly healthy, that could be enough to team up with Jonas Bjorkman – or Simon Aspelin – to steal the doubles rubber because Joachim’s serve is monstrous.

Even though Aspelin teamed up with Julian Knowle to win the US Open doubles title this year, it’s not likely to happen because the US has the Bryan brother and they’re 11-1 in Davis Cup doubles.

I would be very surprised if I was not booking my ticket to the Davis Cup final in some US city come late November. And that also means that Russia will beat Germany in the other semifinal because if Germany wins, the final will be played in Germany.

Marat Safin won’t be in Moscow for the tie against Germany. He’s climbing the sixth highest mountain in the world, Cho-Oyu, which is on the Nepal-Tibet border. Makes sense to me. What else would he be doing in the middle the tennis season besides climbing a tall mountain?

Maybe Safin will get to the 27, 000 foot (8201 meter) high peak and find a guru freezing his butt off in a cave. Maybe the guru will give Safin Shaktipat and his days of being a tortured soul will come to a glorious end. Nah, never happen.

Russia wisely chose clay for the surface because Russian players Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Andreev love clay. Germany’s Tommy Haas avoids it like the plague and he’s 1-3 against Davydenko including a loss at the US Open

Andreev is 4-0 against Germany’s other singles player, Philipp Kohlschreiber. That may mean that 37th ranked Andreev will play singles instead of 17th ranked Youznhy. Youzhny, instead, will team up with Dmitry Tursunov to play doubles against Alexander Waske and Philipp Petzschner.

Looks to me like it’s a US-Russia Davis Cup final.

Lindsay Davenport’s Quick Turnaround

Over on the WTA side of the tennis world, Russia dominated Italy to win the Fed Cup. More interesting to me was the result in Bali.

Lindsay Davenport retired after playing Bali last year and gave birth to son Jagger three months ago. Then she unretired and returned to Bali for her first tournament back and won the damn thing. Not only that but she beat Jelena Jankovic along the way.

Admittedly, many players use Bali as a vacation to decompress from the US Open and shop for pearls, but Lindsay was 21-8 in 2006 before she retired and she got to the quarterfinals at the Australian and the US Open so she can do some damage.

Winning a tournament three months after giving birth, by the way, is unbelievable. First of all you have to recover from the birth itself, then suffer through a few months of sleeplessness adjusting to the baby’s feeding patterns, and then there’s the physical preparation for a professional tennis match. I am impressed.

I’ll be back with ATP fantasy picks for Bangkok and Mumbai next week.


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