Quiz question: In which sport do the Number 1 seeds and defending champions Czech Republic face the Number 2 seeds Serbia in the final this weekend?
Congratulations if you knew the answer was Tennis, as it’s Davis Cup final weekend with Serbia having home advantage and possibly their greatest weapon in their arsenal being Novak Djokovic.
You can make a case for value in backing either side to win the tie. 888sport have Serbia @ 6/11 while you can take some 9/4 on Czech Republic with BetVictor and William Hill. On the opposite end of the scale with these bookies, Serbia are priced @ 3/10 and the Czechs @ 7/5. So while all bookies agree that Serbia are favourites, why is there such a gap between the best/worst price available?
Can Novak Get it Done?
Well, Serbia have Novak Djokovic the world Number 2. Djokovic enters the final on the back of a 22 game winning streak, having won the last 4 tournaments he entered, and is also unbeaten in 15 indoor matches on hard court this year.
He will carry the hopes of Serbia and will lift his team mates and the crows, as when he plays for his country, he gives it 110% because he is such a patriotic guy.
Secondly Serbia hold home advantage and will try to win the crown in front of 16,000 cheering Serbians. It’s also the scene of Serbia’s 2010 Davis Cup triumph so it holds good memories for them.
Tomas Berdych is the World Number 6 and leads the Czech Republic into the final. He has beaten Djokovic in only 2 of their 16 previous encounters, and has lost all 12 meetings on hard court. Berdych is a different gravy though when it comes to wearing the Czech Republic colours, so as impressive as Djokovic’s dominance is over Berdych, it won’t mean a lot when it comes to this weekend’s final.
Fortunately for the Czechs, the singles game with Djokovic will only count for 1 point. Although, barring injury, Djokovic will play probably play twice so it’s as good as a 2 point headstart in a first to 3 matches. There will be plenty of opportunity for the Czechs to get the required number to retain the title, but they will need to take them all.
Tipsarevic, Serbia’s World Number 36, was once a top ten player but he’s struggled in recent times. He was forced to retire with a foot injury just 3 games into his last competitive outing in Valencia. Stepanek could be the man to take advantage of Tipsarevic’s weakness and slump in form, but should they want to rest the 34 year old for the doubles or other singles, then they have World Number 47 Lukas Rosol or World Number 104 Jan Hajek waiting in the wings to take care of business.
The doubles match is a must win for the Czechs. Berdych and Stepanek carry a 13-1 doubles win/loss record into the final where they won’t face Djokovic. The Serbians entrust their doubles to Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic who are ranked numbers 238 and 1262 in the World as singles players, but they make a fierce partnership in doubles. Their most notable success was beating the almost unbeatable Bryan brothers 15-13 in the final set of their QF against USA in April.
In their most recent meeting in 2012, the team of Berdych/Stepanek beat Bozoljac/Zimonjic 3-0 on their way to a 4-1 success over a Djokovic-less Serbia so they’ll be hoping to repeat the success. I think that the Czech’s are priced too big @ 9/4 to repeat this success so I’m going to have a bet on this. Djokovic is a massive addition to the Serbian team, and he could well carry them to the title, but the 9/4 available on Czech Republic is just too good to turn down. Their most likely winning score is 3-2 so that might be worth a small wager aswel. Either way, this should be a fantastic final with every player giving it absolutely everything for their country.