The Davis Cup semifinals will begin on Friday in Madrid, with Novak Djokovic and Serbia going up against Croatia. Saturday’s second semifinal will pit Daniil Medvedev and Russia against Jan-Lennard Struff and the underdog Germans.
(SRB) Novak Djokovic vs. (CRO) Marin Cilic
Djokovic and Cilic will be squaring off for the 20th time in their careers when they clash in the Davis Cup semifinal between Serbia and Croatia on Friday afternoon. The head-to-head series stands at 17-2 in favor of Djokovic, who took their first 14 encounters before losing two straight and then winning three in a row. They have not faced each other since the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals, where the top-ranked Serb prevailed 7-6(7), 6-2. He is 4-1 lifetime against Cilic on indoor hard courts, including a 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 victory during 2010 Davis Cup action in Croatia.
Unsurprisingly, Djokovic went undefeated in Davis Cup round-robin competition and then won both singles and doubles against Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals. Cilic is 2-1 during the event, with a pair of three-set victories in the group stage before losing to Italy’s Jannik Sinner on Tuesday. Croatia survived in the doubles rubber to give the 33-year-old a shot at some redemption, but to say he is fighting an uphill battle would be a gross understatement. There is no reason to think that Djokovic will have any trouble.
Pick: Djokovic in 2 losing 8 games or fewer
Tie prediction: Serbia 2, Croatia 0
(RUS) Daniil Medvedev vs. (GER) Jan-Lennard Struff
In the second semifinal on Saturday, it’s Russia vs. Germany. Not unlike in the Serbia vs. Croatia tie, the No. 2 singles match is a bit of a wild card. It will probably be Andrey Rublev vs. Dominik Koepfer, but Rublev is struggling mightily at the moment and the Russians have other options in the form of Karen Khachanov and Aslan Karatsev.
Medvedev has had so such issues, going 3-0 so far in the Davis Cup Finals with straight-set defeats of Ecuador’s Emilio Gomez, Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, and Sweden’s Mikael Ymer. Struff is 2-1 with a loss only to Djokovic plus a huge quarterfinal win over in-form Brit Cameron Norrie. The 51st-ranked German actually beat Medvedev this summer in Halle but then lost to him a couple of weeks later at Wimbledon. Medvedev leads the overall head-to-head series 4-1 and it should not take him long to make it 5-1.
Pick: Medvedev in 2
Tie prediction: Russia 2, Germany 0