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Tennis: This Week's Highlights

With the 2022 ATP World Tour season in the books, attention turns this week to Malaga's Martin Carpena Arena and the final men's event of the year, the Davis Cup Finals.

With the 2022 ATP World Tour season in the books, attention turns this week to Malaga's Martin Carpena Arena and the final men's event of the year, the Davis Cup Finals.

The format of the Davis Cup has chopped and changed over the last few seasons, but from here on out the equation is simple with eight nations playing four quarter-final matches from Tuesday to Thursday before semi-final matches on Friday and Saturday and Sunday's final.

As was the case in the previous round of the Davis Cup, each tie consists of two singles rubbers before a concluding doubles contest if the score is level at 1-1.

What: Davis Cup Finals
Where: Martin Carpena Arena, Malaga, Spain
When: November 22nd- 27th
Odds: Italy 3/1, Canada 3/1, Croatia 7/2, Spain 4/1, USA 6/1, Australia 11/1, Germany 20/1, Netherlands 20/1

Italy and Canada the top-half teams to beat

Italy have only won the Davis Cup on one occasion, taking the title in 1976, and their hopes of finally securing the trophy this time around suffered a blow when Jannik Sinner was ruled out with an injury.

However, captain Filippo Volandri can still call upon Matteo Berrettini and Lorenzo Musetti with Lorenzo Sonego in reserve, while Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli are a long-term doubles partnership.

Italy are 3/1 to win the title and must first see off a dangerous USA squad which features Tour Finals semi-finalist Taylor Fritz, the improving Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul, with Jack Sock picked for his doubles prowess.

The USA are 6/1 but more is expected of their neighbours to the north Canada, who can call upon Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov as two high-class singles performers with veteran Vasek Pospisil an option if those two do not also compete in the doubles.

Canada are 3/1 shots for the title and should at least expect to make the semi-finals as their quarter-final tie pits them against a Germany team lacking the star quality which the injured Alexander Zverev would provide.

Oscar Otte, Jan-Lennard Struff, Yannick Hanfmann, Tim Puetz, and Kevin Krawietz will be tasked with stopping the Canadians but that looks difficult given how well Auger-Aliassime, in particular, has been playing.

Both of the top-half ties will take place on Thursday.

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Hosts among the key contenders in bottom half

In the bottom half of the draw, the first of two ties sees the Netherlands take on Australia and it's the Aussies, 28-time Davis Cup winners, who will be favoured in this match-up.

Lleyton Hewitt was a force in this competition as a player, helping Australia to wins in 1999 and 2003, and the Melburnian will be hoping to inspire a solid but unspectacular squad as captain this time around.

The absence of Nick Krygios leaves a huge hole in the Aussie squad, with Alex de Minaur tasked with leading the way in singles - the 23-year-old can boast a healthy 9-4 record in Davis Cup singles and claimed the scalp of Daniil Medvedev at the Paris Masters.

Thanasi Kokkinakis looks likely to be nominated as the team's second singles player while Wimbledon doubles champions Matt Ebden and Max Purcell are a solid two-man pairing.

Australia are 11/1 outright with the Dutch outsiders at 20/1 thanks to a squad lacking in a top-class singles performer, with Botic van de Zandschulp the main man in their line-up.

That tie will take place on Tuesday before attention turns to tournament hosts Spain, who are 4/1 to take the title for the seventh time.

The hosts have been dealt a double blow with the news that both Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz are unavailable, but Pablo Carreno Busta and Robert Bautista Agut are solid, experienced back-up options for the singles contests.

Should it come to it, Carreno Busta would likely join doubles specialist Marcel Granollers in taking on the top-class Croatia duo of Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic.

On the singles court, Marin Cilic continues to deliver for his nation, and having won the title in 2018, he'll know that he needs to step up again if they're to deliver at odds of 7/2.

He'll likely be backed up by Borna Coric on the singles court on Wednesday.

Low-key WTA Tour field assembles in Uruguay

In addition to the Davis Cup Finals, there is also low-key WTA Tour action taking place from South America where the Montevideo Open marks the penultimate event of the season.

Introduced in 2021, when Frenchwoman Diane Parry took the trophy, the Montevideo Open is the premier women's event staged in Uruguay and is part of the three-week 125 Series clay-court stretch which also featured events in Chile and Argentina.

Montenegro's Danka Kovinic is the highest-ranked player on the entry list.

The 28-year-old will first compete in the Argentina Open final against Panna Udvardy, who is another name on the Montevideo entry list.

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