Joining Isner and Querrey (in the best playing shape he’s been in lately) are fellow Americans the Bryan brothers, fresh from their record 13th Grand Slam title victory in Australia. Team USA, captained by Jim Courier, also has an exceptionally strong collection of practice partners, including Jack Sock and Bradley Klahn.
Querrey, currently ranked No. 20, beat No. 36 Thomaz Bellucci 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 at Jacksonville, Florida’s Veterans Memorial Arena. After a languid start, Querrey quickly developed a winning strategy while facing Bellucci’s potentially lethal left-handed serves. The strategy seemed to include outserving his opponent.
Playing the second rubber, No. 16 John Isner defeated No. 145 Thiago Alves 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3. Isner’s famous big serve let him sail past Alves, the more nimble of the two players. In the end, Isner had 32 aces.
As for the Bryan brothers, who have yet to play… well, their record in Davis Cup competition is 20-2, making them the winningest doubles team in U.S. Davis Cup history.
Playing at home has given Team USA a consistently positive outcome. They are nearly unbeatable when they play on home turf (with a home play record of 109-16). For some teams, playing at home only adds unwelcome pressure (remember last year’s first round shocker when Federer lost to Isner in Switzerland, of all places?), but for Team USA it works out very well. This is the Davis Cup’s first time taking place in Jacksonville, Florida.
The Davis Cup is made up the top 16 teams on the planet. The path to victory for Team USA looks very possible. It would require a win over Brazil in the first round in the top half of the World Group draw, after which Team USA would meet the winner of the Serbia-Belgium first round. If Team USA beats that team, they would move on to the semi-final (where they would likely play against Team Canada, or maybe Team Croatia). The winner of that match would go on to the final against the lower half winner of the World Group draw.
The doubles match is on Saturday, followed by singles on Sunday. To visit the Davis Cup website, click here.