Russia vs France
Anastasia Myskina vs Amelie Mauresmo:
It's a tough match for both of them - facing a fellow Top 10 player first up in the new season. I'm expecting Amelie to take this one. Can Anastasia surprise? You bet. Will she? It's almost CRUCIAL she does...
Marat Safin vs Fabrice Santoro:
Their H2H doesn't bode well for Marat but shines like a beacon for Fabrice. Marat may need to look past that to even the tie or Fabrice will once again frustrate Marat and possibly seal the tie for France.
Russia vs France:
Interestingly, it's Marat who will most likely be the X-factor in the match if it is to decide the tie. The women are both even in terms of doubles ability, with Mauresmo, perhaps, having the better volleying skills. With Fabrice on her side, a Grand Slam doubles champion, the Russians will need to rely on Marat keeping his cool to ensure Nastya can also play to the best of her abilities.
PREDICTION: France could sweep this 3-0 or win by 2-1, unless Anastasia can win her singles and then team well with Marat to win the mixed. The Russians are an unknown entity in the mixed. I think France has all the advantages in this tie. An upset is on the cards.