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Serbia without Djokovic, still favourites ahead of GB clash

Thu, Jul 14, 4:26pm by Staff Writer

Janko TipsarevicSerbia remain favourites to claim their second Davis Cup title despite the absence of their kingpin for this weekend’s quarter-finals.

Novak Djokovic will not confront Great Britain as Serbia chases its first Davis Cup success since 2010.

The quarter-final ties will start Friday (AEST) with Italy, Argentina, Czech Republic, France, USA and Croatia the other countries left in the running for this year’s silverware.

Great Britain are chasing back-to-back Davis Cup crowns after their convincing win over Belgium in the 2015 final.

But while Serbia and Great Britain looked a mouth-watering match up on paper, the absence of the world’s top-two ranked men’s singles players – Djokovic and Andy Murray – has left a hole.

Murray was named in his team last week, but was always unlikely to take part after his Wimbledon success last week.

It mean’s world No.67 Kyle Edmund is the highest ranked player taking part in the tie in Serbia.

The home nation’s team will be made up of Dusan Lajovic, Filip Krajinovic, Janko Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic, while Great Britain will have Edmund, James Ward, Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot in their corner.

But the contest between last year’s Davis Cup winner and this year’s favourite still has plenty on the line, with a spot in the semi-finals – which will be held in September – at stake.

Serbia are $2.75 favourites with William Hill and Centrebet to go all the way, while France are priced at $3.75. Great Britain are next in line at $6.50.

France will travel to the Czech Republic ($11) for their quarter-final.

France have won the Davis Cup nine times – the fourth most successful nation in the history of the event – and last hoisted the trophy in 2001. They also finished runner-up to Switzerland in 2014.

Gael Monfils, Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga led France to a thumping victory over Canada in the round of 16.

But Monfils, Simon and Gasquet will miss the tie against Czech Republic.

Tsonga will spearhead the French line-up and will be backed up by Lucas Pouille, Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Jiri Vesely, Lukas Rosol, Adam Pavlasek and Radek Stepanek will represent Czech Republic.

In other matches, the USA, priced at $8 with Centrebet and William Hill, will host Croatia ($13).

The US looked to have the edge in this match up with John Isner and Jack Sock, ranked 16 and 26 respectively, to take on the workload in the singles, while the Bryan brothers – Bob and Mike – will take to the court in the doubles.

Marin Cilic, Borna Coric, Ivan Dodig and Marin Draganja will represent Croatia.

While the US will enter this clash as warm favourites and are the most successful Davis Cup nation of all time, having won 32 titles, Croatia have won all three previous ties between the pair.

Cilic led Croatia to victory in the most recent meeting in the 2009 World Group quarter-finals.

In the remaining quarter-final, Italy ($15) will host Argentina ($21).

While the winner will progress to the last four, neither country is rated a serious threat for this year’s title.

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