Davis Cup, also called the "World Cup of Tennis", has arrived in a revamped format, and we break down the best bets for all of Day 1´s action!
<p><strong>The Davis Cup</strong> is once again here, to signify the final event of the 2019 tennis season. For the first time ever, the event will be played at one venue, the La Caja Mágica in Madrid, Spain. The home-away ties are no more, while the action now concludes in best of three tiebreak sets instead of the previous best of five. Split into six groups (A-F) with three teams in each, we have three groups active for Day 1´s action. Russia squares off against Croatia in Group B, Belgium meets Colombia in Group D, whilst Italy battle against Canadia in Group F.<br /><br />We have several blockbuster matchups throughout the day, like Borna Coric vs Karen Khachanov. Questions are many surrounding these players however, with both Coric and Khachanov falling off heavily in 2019 after career years the year prior. We would have had a massive matchup between Daniil Medvedev and Marin Cilic, but both players have withdrawn citing exhaustion for the Russian whilst the Croatian yet again is injured. It´s tough to say how much better Belgium pair Steve Darcis and David Goffin will be in their respective matches against Santiago Giraldo and Daniel Elahi Galan respectively - if better at all, and those two are easy passes at the prices. Group F have two interesting matchups though, with Denis Shapovalov facing Fabio Fognini, and Matteo Berrettini up against Felix Auger-Aliassime. With Berrettini just playing the ATP Finals in London after a long season, and Aliassime just coming back from an unspecified injury, I´m happy to focus on the first matchup in Group F.</p><div><h2><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=168&a=4417b7df-a48f-47f3-9b45-f79858bc083a&f=3" target="_blank"><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5d582dcf927b95968483da5f/original-10-bet-new-customer-welcome-bonus" style="width:100%" /></a><br /><br /><br /><b>Fabio Fognini vs. Denis Shapovalov</b><br />Monday, November 18, Madrid</h2><p><br /><b>A season to remember</b><br /><br />For Fabio Fognini, like many other years, the season has been a mixed bag. The enigmatic Italian has so much innate talent, he can do almost anything on the court, be it backhands down the line, crushing forehands, or showing off his deft touch with devastating dropshots. However, many of the 32-year old´s talents are overshadowed by his demeanor on court, often lacking effort and focus. 2019 has been a year where Fognini has been much more focused though, and his efforts were rewarded as the Italian became the oldest top-10 entrant since 1973 - after winning a maiden Masters title in Monte Carlo. However, the rest of the season would not be so rosy, struggling for form and fitness and only making one more big result in reaching the Shanghai Masters quarterfinal. That wasn´t good enough to prevent a drop out from the top 10:<br /><br />"I was sad. I deserved to enter there and I deserved to leave it. I did wrong in some tournaments where I should have not. But Matteo Berrettini is now a top ten player and there are many Italians on the top 100, which is an amazing thing."<br /><br /><b>Ending the drought</b><br /><br />In what looked like becoming a disappointing season for the Canadian phenom Denis Shapovalov, all turned around after hiring former world no. 8 Mikhail Youzhny as coach. After making the Miami Masters semifinal, the 20-year old went 2-9 across the next four months and his game looked in disarray. Return of serve had been a big problem, at one point winning less return games on <b>clay than hard court. </b>Unforced errors would spray from the Shapovalov racquet, and confidence was shook. Upon hiring Youzhny however, results seemed instant. Learning to block the ball back into play on return instead of always attempting a full swing was an obvious fix which hadn´t materialized earlier, but finally did here. Reaching the Winston Salem semifinals and Chengdu semfinals would however continue a "curse" for Denis. Previously going 0-7 in matches and 0-14 in sets in ATP semifinals, the 20-year old got the monkey off his back in Stockholm, claiming his maiden ATP title. Playing with supreme confidence, that showing was followed up by making the finals of the Paris Masters. The world no. 15 won the Junior Davis Cup in 2015, and will put his 7-3 senior record to the test, leading team Canada:<br /><br />"It feels quick,” Shapovalov told the Davis Cup Finals. “Just a couple of years ago I was playing all these junior events – Wimbledon, Davis Cup – and now it’s completely different. I’m No.15 in the world, leading the country. It’s an honour for me, and I’m super-excited. Any time I get the chance to play for Canada and represent my country, it’s a privilege. It’s amazing to be here and be able to give my best."<br /><br /><b>A different beast</b><br /><br />This will be a repeat of the recent matchup in the Paris Masters second round, where Shapovalov effectively ended Fognini´s ATP Finals hopes in a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory. It is the Canadian who leads the H2H-record 2-0, both contested on faster surfaces, having previously triumphed in Toronto last year by a 6-3, 7-5 scoreline. Denis has improved by leaps and bounds under Youzhny´s tutelage, and is currently playing top-5 tennis with an overwhelmingly powerful game. In faster conditions, his devastating groundstrokes are awfully difficult to deal with for even the most skilled defenders.<br /><br />Fognini on the other hand is usually up for representing his country, and holds an 8-3 career record at the event. However, only two matchups have come on a hard court, and the Japanese Sugita Yuichi(41) and Taro Daniel(100) both pulled the big favourite into five set thrillers. Fabio´s struggles indoors are well documented, posting a losing 37-48 career record on the surface. Despite playing with incredible desire in the recent Paris Masters matchup, the Italian couldn´t hold that level for more than a set and succumbed afterwards. Trailing the 2019 hold/break numbers by 4%, and the hard court ELO by 73 points, the pendelum swings further in Shapovalov´s favor. A -3.5 handicap on the Canadian appeals, paying 1.97 with Unibet.<br /><br /><a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=4fd3c129-b898-4816-9a61-9f7e8f34295a&f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Tennis Betting Odds"><b><i>Best bet: Shapovalov -3.5 games at 1.97 (38/25) with [Unibet] </i></b><i>1.5u</i></a><br /><br /> </p></div>