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Steve Johnson, Frances Tiafoe, Ryan Harrison and Mike Bryan will play a star-studded Croatian team in the Davis Cup semifinals this weekend (and you can watch all the action on Tennis Channel).
Reaching the semifinals of Davis Cup is already a strong showing—they hadn’t done that since 2012—but now the American team will try and reach the final for the first time since winning the title in 2007.
The tie takes place on the outdoor clay courts of the Sportski Centar Visnjik in Zadar, Croatia, and the Croatians not only have their two best singles players—Marin Cilic and Borna Coric—they have two of their best doubles players in Mate Pavic and Ivan Dodig (No. 4 and No. 24 in doubles, respectively).
The 30th-ranked Johnson plays 18th-ranked Coric in the first match of the tie on Friday. Johnson not only has 18 career wins over Top 20 players, he also beat Coric in their only previous meeting—on outdoor clay, incidentally—in a tough four-setter in the second round of the French Open last year.
Tiafoe, meanwhile, will be playing sixth-ranked Cilic in the second singles rubber. The 40th-ranked Tiafoe, who has two career wins over Top 10 players, will be making his career Davis Cup debut.
“Pretty excited for it,” Tiafoe told DavisCup.com. “Should be fun. Obviously, getting the chance to play another guy in the Top 10 is great. I’ve made a huge jump this year. I was pretty much a Challenger guy most of the time, so winning a tour event has been great. I think it’s been a great year.
“I feel like when I’m playing well, I’ve got a chance against anyone.”
Bryan and Harrison will play Dodig and Pavic in doubles, followed by the reverse singles rubbers.
The other semifinal will see France take on Spain on the indoor hard courts of the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, France. Lucas Pouille and Benoit Paire are scheduled to play singles for France with Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut doing doubles duty, while Pablo Carreno Busta and Roberto Bautista Agut will play singles for Spain with Marcel Granollers and Feliciano Lopez playing doubles.
France, the defending champions, won the 2017 title at the very same venue 10 months ago.
The World Group semifinals aren’t the only ties taking place this weekend, either. Eight World Group Playoff ties are taking place around the world as well with a slew of top players in action, including Dominic Thiem, who pushed world No. 1 Rafael Nadal to a fifth set tiebreaker in the quarterfinals of the US Open in one of the matches of the tournament. Also in action are Canada’s stars, Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov, and 14th-ranked Diego Schwartzman, among others.
This Weekend on Tennis Channel PLUS
-Davis Cup Semifinals (Sep. 14-16): USA takes on Croatia, while Spain faces France
-Additionally, watch Davis Cup World Group Playoffs featuring Austria vs. Australia and Canada vs. Netherlands