Davis Cup semifinal preview: Belgium vs Australia

Belgium will be hoping to overcome a strong Australia side to reach the Davis Cup final.

Davis Cup semifinal preview: Belgium vs Australia
The two captains Johan Van Herck and Lleyton Hewitt come together ahead of the draw ceremony (Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/Getty Images)

Belgium will welcome Australia to Brussels and the indoor red clay. This will be the countries fifth meeting at Davis Cup level with the scores tied at 2-2. But the hosts have won the previous two meetings.

Belgium's route to the semifinal  

The Belgique's have had mixed ties in order to get to the semifinal stage. In their opening round, they comfortably came through Germany 4-1, while against Italy they came through it 3-2 against a fully packed home support. 

Facing a fully strengthened Germany team, Belgium were by no means favorite to progress. At the end of day one, the scores were surprisingly level at 1-1 with Steve Darcis beating Philipp Kohlschreiber in five while Alexander Zverev came through Arthur De Greef rather too easy. Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore put Belgium ahead in the doubles defeating Mischa Zverev and his brother in a closely fought five set marathon. Steve Darcis then came in for the fourth rubber, which paid off as he shocked Alex Zverev in four to put the away side through. Ruben Bemelmans then saw off Mischa Zverev in a dead rubber. 

Sticking with the same team, Belgium had the support of the home crowd against a strengthened Italy team who was without Fabio Fognini. Following day one, Belgium was in full control thanks to victories from Steve Darcis against Paolo Lorenzi and David Goffin over Andreas Seppi. The doubles pairing of Simone Bolelli and Seppi came through Bemelmans/De Loore in a fifth set tiebreaker. But Goffin's win against Lorenzi ensured Belgium made it a second semifinal since 1999. Alessandro Giannessi beat De Loore in a dead rubber tie. 

Australia's route to the semifinals

Just like the Belgium's, Australia won their opening match 4-1 against a much weakened Czech Republic on home soil of Kooyong. They then faced fierce rivals the USA, again at home and came through that tie 3-2, which put them into the semifinals. 

At home with a full strength team, Czech Republic had a big task ahead of them with no Tomas Berdych or Lukas Rosol, two of Czech's most experienced players. Day one and the Aussies were halfway to the quarterfinals with two straight wins thanks to Jordan Thompson and Nick Kyrgios over Jiri Vesely and Jan Satral respectively. Sam Groth and partner John Peers made it a clean sweep with a third consecutive straight sets victory, which put them into the quarters. Vesely got the Czech's only point of the tie defeating Groth but Jordan Thompson ended the tie with a win in the dead rubber match. 

Facing the USA, Australia kept the same lineup as the Czech tie. The USA went with Jack Sock, John Isner, Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson, leaving Bob and Mike Bryan out of the team. The decision to Keep Thompson in the team in paid off immediately as he got the home side off to a cracking start with a win over Sock. Kyrgios then made it 2-0 to the Aussies with a win over big serving Isner. Johnson and Sock then brought the USA back into contention with a five set win in the doubles. But Kyrgios ended the tie when he defeated Querrey in straights. The final match saw Isner defeat Groth in a dead rubber. 

Belgium's team 

The Belgium's have gone all out in order to stop the in form Australians. The home side doesn't have a lot of players to call upon but the players they do have available, have a ton of experience in Grand Slam level as well as ATP and Davis Cup. 

Belgium team ready for action (Photo: David Goffin Twitter)
Belgium team ready for action (Photo: David Goffin Twitter)

Johan Van Herck will have their biggest weapon in David Goffin available once more rank 12th in the world, he will spearhead the home side alongside Steve Darcis who has played in Davis Cup since 2005 and helped the team reach the final in 2015 on home soil. The side is unchanged from their previous two rounds with Bemelmans and De Loore keeping their places. 

Three of the four Belgium players are ranked inside the world's top 100 and should they make the final, this will be their third final in history and second since 2015. In 1904, the home side lost to France 3-2, a country they could face if both come through their respective ties. They then lost most recently to Great Britain on home territory.  

Australia's team

Just like the Belgium's, Australia has a full squad ahead of the crunch tie. And again, like their opponent, the Aussie's team has a lot of experience from Grand Slam to Davis Cup. However, Sam Groth will be missing for the away side. The big serving Aussie has helped the green and gold progress to the semi final stage. 

Team Australia posing for pictures (Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/Getty Images)
Team Australia posing for pictures (Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/Getty Images)

Captain and Davis Cup veteran Lleyton Hewitt has made just the one change which sees John Millman enter the team for the first time this year. The rest of the team remain the same from their previous round clash against the Americans. Hewitt will be hoping that his top star Nick Kyrgios is in full swing as he leads out the team ranked inside the top 20. Jordan Thompson keeps his place after impressing in the quarterfinals. John Peers will play a crucial role for Australia in the doubles. Ranked number two he will lead the team out on Saturday. 

Despite only one of the three singles players they have been ranked inside the top 20, collectively, they have excellent experience amongst themselves. As well as John Peers in the doubles with a Grand Slam and World Tour Finals title alongside side the numerous doubles titles he currently has in his cabinet. The country has a massive history with the Davis Cup, winning the competition 28 times and being runners up 19 times.