Tennis

Davis Cup preview: Switzerland v Kazakhstan

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Switzerland are the favourites to progress into the World Group semi-finals of the Davis Cup as they host Kazakhstan in Geneva.

The Swiss have good reason to be confident; Roger Federer is the most successful player ever in Grand Slams and backing him is Stanislas Wawrinka, who won his first Grand Slam in the Australian Open earlier this year.

In contrast, Kazakhstan have World No.56 Mikhail Kukushkin as their lead player.

The tie starts tomorrow on the hard courts of the Palexpo.

Wawrinka, World No.3 and now Swiss No.1, beat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on his way to a first major title in January. He will face Andrey Golubev, whom he beat in round one in Australia, first up in this tie.

Golubev lost that match in Australia after retiring early, but the world no.65 has beaten Wawrinka in the past on a hard surface. 

The omens are less promising for Kazakhstan in round two, where Federer, winner of 17 Grand Slams, takes on Kukushin.

They've only played once, at Wimbledon, where the former World no.1 prevailed. However, 26-year-old Kukushin has only ever claimed one singles title and has never passed the fourth round of a Grand Slam. 

Round three pits Wawrinka and Federer together for a doubles match. They won Olympic gold at Beijing in 2008 - therefore the duo will feel confident of dispatching Evgeny Korolev and Alexandr Nedovyesov. 

If needed, Wawrinka and Federer will face Kukushin and Golubev in singles matches respectively; swapping over from the first two rounds. 

It's not all doom and gloom for the central Asian country though. They will look to a 5-0 win over their opponents in 2010, the only time the countries have met, as inspiration for an upset. 

Switzerland haven't progressed to the semi-finals of the Davis Cup since 2003. Lleyton Hewitt won a five-setter against Federer on that occasion to secure Australia a place in the final.

It's been even longer since they reached a final, 1992 to be precise. That time they lost 3-1 to an all-star USA side featuring Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. 

However, Wawrinka is confident and points to the key role that Federer can play: "We all know that we have a good opportunity, especially since Roger [Federer] is playing and I am playing.

"We are not thinking already to the final, but we are, on paper, big favorites for this weekend.

"For sure, it's going to be amazing especially after my beginning of the year," continued the 29-year-old.

"First (Davis Cup) quarter-final for me, playing in Geneva in front of 16,000. I'm excited for that."

Elsewhere in the other quarter-finals. Great Britain, with Andy Murray, head to Naples for a match against Italy. Czech Republic and Japan both have injury concerns heading to their encounter in Tokyo, while France are set to clash with Germany in Nancy. 

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Topics:
Roger Federer
Stanislas Wawrinka
Tennis

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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