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When: Wednesday, November 20th starting at 12:00 PM EST.
Where: Manzanares Park Tennis Center in Madrid, Spain
Head to Head Record: Spain leads 2-0
Croatia’s title defense did not get off to a very good start, to say the least.
The 2018 Davis Cup champions lost to Russia with a disappointing 3-0 score.
The result leaves the team in a very bad position heading into the matchup against group favorite Spain.
Spain, on the other hand, could advance to the quarterfinals for the third year in a row.
Depending on how things play out in the other groups, both teams could have a shot at advancing together, although it is highly unlikely.
For Croatia, an absolutely flawless exhibition is the only way to keep their hopes alive.
Spain will likely have a much easier path to the quarters.
It’s also worth remembering that an early exit will relegate the team to the Qualifying Round.
Advancing past the quarterfinals will secure an automatic spot in the 2020 Davis Cup Finals.
Team nomination: Borna Coric, Nikola Mektic, Borna Gojo Mate Pavic and Ivan Dodig.
Croatia lost its leading player, Grand Slam winner Marin Cilic, two weeks before the tournament.
The 2014 US Open champion pulled out of the competition due to an injury and was replaced by youngster Borna Gojo.
The team is led by Borna Coric, 28th in the ATP singles ranking, along with doubles specialists Mate Pavic and Ivan Dodig.
Pavic, however, did not play against Russia and was replaced by Nikola Mektic.
Croatia needs a flawless performance by Coric, who will likely face off against Rafael Nadal, to stand a chance at advancing.
Pavic and Dodig, if paired together, do have a better shot at winning the doubles matchup.
Even if Croatia wins the series, the team would still need a 3-0 score, most likely without dropping a single set, in order to advance.
But simply beating Spain seems like a monumental task at the moment.
Team nomination: Rafael Nadal, Roberto Batista Agut, Feliciano López, Pablo Carreño Busta, Marcel Granollers.
After making it to the semifinals for the first time since its 2012 runner-up campaign, Spain will try to move one step further compared to 2018.
In order to achieve the feat, the five-time Davis Cup winners have built an all-star team.
The change to the competition’s format has really benefited Spain, with ATP’s No.1 Nadal being able to join the team.
López and Granollers make one of the strongest pairings in the doubles competition.
Batista Agut is coming off a career year, while Carreño Busta is a former top 10 player who could be subbed in if necessary.
Spain also holds a significant advantage as the host country, which will definitely act as a boost.
Spain and Croatia have met twice in Davis Cup history, with the Spanish team holding a 2-0 record.
The most recent meeting happened in 2017 when Spain took a close 3-2 victory.
The all-star roster Spain has lined up for 2019 is arguably the strongest in the competition.
Croatia, meanwhile, had a disappointing first outing against Russia, winning one set in three matches.
Spain will also have the home crowd on its side for the whole week, which is a huge plus under the new format.
Prediction: Spain to win.
The latest odds for the Croatia vs Spain match are provided by bet365 NJ.
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