Spain v Argentina begins today with the first two rubbers in Seville. On paper it looks like Spain should win pretty easily. With Rafa Nadal at home on clay, it looks a done deal and there is certainly no value in backing Spain or Nadal in any of his matches. Juan Monaco is his first opponent, which looks a 3-0 match all the way. It has to be said that Monaco has been playing superbly of late and as clay is his favourite surface, there is an outside chance he might take a set. Certainly worth a watch as Nadal has not been playing anywhere near his best for a while now, although of course, he's not been on the red-dirt.
The other rubber today pairs Del Potro and Ferrer. Again, you can't really look past Ferrer. This guy lives and breathes on the grit and has been in great form lately. Del Potro's serve will always make him a tough opponent on any surface but Ferrer is simply too good a mover and returner, and this should negate the main advantage that the Argentine has. Hopefully, the Spaniard will be a bit nervous and Del Potro can nick the first set because that will open up the match for trading opportunities.
The doubles takes place on Saturday, which really could go either way. I'm quite surprised Granollers isn't playing for Spain, especially as Verdasco lost both the previous doubles games in the semi and quarter finals, losing to the Bryan brothers of the USA and obliterated 6-1 6-2 6-0 by the French in an embarrassing display. Granollers did play against the Bryans but it's hardly a disgrace to lose to the best doubles pairing in the world. Lopez partnered Verdasco against France and it's the same pairing against Shwank and Nalbandian, who didn't play together in any of the previous rounds. Looks to me like Nalbandian has been shoe-horned into the doubles because Monaco was chosen ahead of him for the singles. It's a tough one to call either way and much will depend on what happened in the first two rubbers. Shwank is a good doubles player and maybe Nalbandian will bring out his brilliant best on the day. Could be a good game to trade.
Nadal against Del Potro on Sunday will be interesting but again, I don't see Nadal losing, especially after such a disappointing ATP Tour Final in London. He'll be out to show he's still a dominant force. I wouldn't be surprised if Nalbandian wasn't brought in for the final singles match against Ferrer, instead of Monaco. Monaco is basically an inferior version of Ferrer and I can't see him winning that but Nalbandian? He's got the skills to upset Ferrer's rhythm and when he's up for it, as he surely will be, he can beat anyone.
Let's just hope it goes to a 5th rubber so we can trade all weekend, cos that's it after this clash. Well, unless you count the AEGON Masters event in London. This is a tournament for retired players and is going to be in-play on the exchanges - remarkable when you consider they didn't put any of the Challenger Tour Finals matches on the site at all! If betting on the likes of John McEnroe and Goran Ivanisevic is your thing, then trade away! I'll no doubt have a look and see what liquidity is like. There is likely to be huge value in these games as no one will really know what to expect until the game actually gets going. Should be fun if nothing else and I'm looking forward to the battle of the Brits - Rusedski v Henman! COME ON TIIIIIIIIM!!!
Today's photoshoot pic is of Estonia's world number 34 Kaia Kanepi: