July 25, 2016

Borna Coric Beats Jack Sock to Complete Croatia Comeback from 0-2 to Send Team to Davis Cup Semis

Borna Coric

Borna Coric

(July 17, 2016) BEAVERTON, Oregon – Croatia came back from an 0-2 deficit for the first time to beat the United States 3-2 to reach the Davis Cup semifinals on Sunday at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center.

Nineteen-year-old Borna Coric  ranked No. 54 in the world, beat No. 26 Jack Sock in a fifth and deciding rubber 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to seal the victory.

Croatia will host France in the semifinals September 16-18.

The United States came into day three of their Davis Cup quarterfinal tie against Croatia leading 2-1. Friday saw the U.S. get two singles wins and on Saturday the Bryan brothers lost for only their fifth time in Davis Cup play on Saturday.

Borna Coric served with confidence in the first set, Sock barely winning any points against his opponent’s serve. The Croatian went up a break but was challenged in the tenth game, having to save a break point before closing out the set 6-4.

The Croatian teen won 86 percent of first serve points and 100 percent of second serve points with three aces in the opening set.

In the second set Sock seemed to gain some momentum breaking Coric for a 4-2 lead. In the critical seventh game which lasted over 11 minutes, Sock saved five break points to hold for 5-2. He won the set 6-3.

Coric went up 3-0 to start the third set, Sock getting back on serve at 2-3 only to lose serve again to fall to 4-2. Coric held on to take a two sets to one lead by taking the third set 6-3.

Coric kept up his confidence breaking serve n the opening game of the fourth set. Sock went on a three game run. to reach 3-2. Coric made the crucial break in the ninth game and served out the match to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Jack Sock on Borna Coric: “I mean, he played a pretty solid match I thought overall. Obviously I had chances and opportunities that I didn’t really convert.

“I mean, that’s tennis. Some days it’s firing and feels great; some days they’re missing a little bit. Credit to him. He played a great match. First point to last played solid and deserved it today.”

Coric lost the second singles rubber to John Isner in straight sets on Friday and he was in a much better mood on Sunday.

“It’s completely different mood, honestly,” Coric said. “I have to be thankful for the Marin and also to the Ivan. They played unbelievable match in doubles. No one was expecting that really.

“Also Marin today winning in straight sets. He was playing for the three days. He played nine sets in two days, which is really not easy.

“To play like that today was unbelievable, and the effort from him. I was feeling good coming in the match. I was practicing a lot on the Saturday, doing some work on some things which I was not happy, you know.

“Today I was playing very good.”

What was the key to his better play on Sunday? “I think I was much more relaxed.” said Coric.  “You know, I was hitting the ball. I was going for the points. I just wasn’t waiting for him to miss, because I knew I cannot play like that because he’s going to kill me with the forehand.

“You know, that was my tactic basically, you know, just to maybe try to stay as close as I can on the line and make good tempo, which I was doing very well.”

Coric has now won ties for Croatia in back to back fifth set rubbers.

“It’s not easy to play in a fifth match obviously,” he said. “You know, I have to be honest, I like that kind of situation. I like it more than playing on the Court 27 somewhere, you know, somewhere far away from the crowd, the people.

“I just like big stage more, when it’s more important. When I have more pressure, you know, when the expectations are big, I like those occasions. I think that’s what we’re training for. That’s what I like. That’s what I enjoy.

“Obviously that’s when I play best. At least for now. I hope it’s going to stay like that.”
Earlier in the day, Cilic, who coming into Sunday had a 5-0 record against the American, would deny the U.S. from closing the tie in the reverse singles. Cilic extended his perfect record over Isner to 6-0 with a 7-6(9), 6-3, 6-4 victory forcing a fifth and deciding rubber later on Sunday.

Isner gave all credit to his opponent.

“I felt like he played pretty well, to be honest,” Isner said to media. “The first set was critical. Felt like I definitely was the better player in the first set.

“Didn’t get paid off, but that’s on me. He came up with the goods when he needed it. That gave him a lot of confidence I think. He got his legs underneath him even more after the first set as well.

“I knew it was going to be a tough task. He was going to be feeling pretty confident because he played very well yesterday in the doubles. I felt like he carried that over today in the singles.”

“I felt from the beginning of the match that John (Isner) start(ed) extremely well, Cilic said in his post-match news conference. “He was not missing much; he was very aggressive; making a lot of returns back.

“He was covering most of the court. I was, in my service games, in trouble for a lot of times in that first set. I felt that I had to be every point very focused, very aggressive as much as I can to stay in there, not to have any loose points.

“I was just hoping that I’m going to get to the tiebreak to give myself a chance there to try to do something.

“During the first set I didn’t have any opportunities on his serve, and I felt that he played probably the best set in all of our encounters from the past. That was definitely a tough task, but I stayed in there mentally. I was very, very focused.”

For Cilic this was his third straight day playing, losing his opening singles on Friday to Jack Sock, after leading 2 sets to none, pairing with Dodig to win the doubles on Saturday and winning in reverse singles on Sunday.

Asked if his doubles victory gave him some confidence for Sunday’s singles, Cilic replied: “I just took some positives out of that match. I was very emotionally involved yesterday. I was very motivated. When you are losing that kind of match like I did on Friday, things can go negatively and you can go down.

“I tried to just lift myself up with the team. I was very much emotionally focused to be positive throughout yesterday’s match, and also today I felt it helped me to lift my game in critical situations.

“Especially when you play three days in a row you can get a little bit tired also towards the end and you can miss some balls that you are not regularly missing.

“So I was trying to be very focused with those emotions to stay in there throughout all the match.”

“It’s really unbelievable,” said Croatia’s Captain Zeljko Krajan of the comeback. “We are still, I mean, I would say shocked from this win. Looking back on Friday and being 2-Love down and then playing against Bryans yesterday, didn’t look very positive for us.

“I have to say honestly after yesterday’s win I was believing we have a good chance today, because I knew that Marin and Borna are for sure going to raise their level from Friday. Friday was much tougher.

“We been here just four days, and it’s tough to have four days to prepare for these conditions and time difference and everything.

“Today I knew they going to bring the quality on the court and it would be very tough for your team to win.”

This win for Croatia marked only the fourth time that the United States lost with a 2-0 lead. They are now 157-4.

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Jack Sock Rallies From Two Sets Down to Beat Marin Cilic; John Isner Also Wins, Gives USA 2-0 Lead in Davis Cup Quarterfinal

Jack Sock

Jack Sock

(July 15, 2016) BEAVERTON, Oregon – The United States is off to a 2-0 lead against Croatia in quarterfinal action in Davis Cup play on Friday at  the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Beaverton, Oregon.

In the first rubber of the United States versus Croatia Davis Cup quarterfinal, 2014 US Open champion and No. 12 Marin Cilic took on No. 26 Jack Sock.

Sock rallied from two sets down to beat Cilic  4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to give the USA a 1-0 lead.

The first set saw little difference between both competitors, but Cilic sealed the break in the tenth game to claim the set 6-4.

The second set saw Cilic took advantage of three break point opportunities to take the set 6-3. Sock contributed 16 errors to his opponent’s cause in the set. Cilic had a medical time out after the seventh game of the set.

Sock drastically reduced his unforced error count in the third set, making only four while upping his first serve percentage making 16/17 to win the third set 6-3.

In the fourth set both men stayed even until the the ninth game, when the 23-year-old American broke serve at 30. Sock served out the set to even the match at 2-sets all.

Cilic broke Sock with a drop volley winner in the American’s first service game of the fifth set and consolidated for a 3-0 lead to start out the fifth set. Sock bounced back with a break in the fifth game to get to 2-3.

“Well, I wasn’t very happy down 3-0,” Sock said. Once again, just stayed the course. Having such an experienced player in Jim Courier on the bench with
you, you can’t ask for much more. He just kept me level headed and kept telling me to do the right things,which I had been doing for a few sets to get back.”
In the seventh game, Sock failed to take advantage of three break points and Cilic held off the inspired American to hold for 4-3.

Sock broke through in in the eighth game, setting up a break point on a drop volley winner for break point. Cilic hit a backhand volley wide to give team USA the break and a 5-4 lead.

As the old Ringo Star song goes “It Don’t Come Easy.” Sock had to fend off two break points in the tenth game to seal the three-hour and 13 minute match win. Final score 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

What made the difference in the match for Sock?

Sock said: “I mean, I had a ton of chances in the second. I didn’t get blown off the for two sets. I was up a break twice in the second. Struggled on my serve a little bit.

“But just maybe made a few smarter decisions on the serve. Made a lot more first serves to kind of put it in
the spots where I could get forehands, start the rally.

“Returning the whole time I felt like I could get in a lot of his games. The court is slow enough I could get back
on the serve and make it neutral.

“Just stayed the course really and was lucky enough to get the win.”

For Sock this was his first match on home soil in his Davis Cup career, he talked about this win being one of his career accomplishments.

“Haven’t played a ton of five-setters in my career. Haven’t come back from two sets to love down. To do that today, in front of
the home crowd for the team, it almost feels extra special today. Maybe if I had done it in another tournament – obviously playing individually there – to do it today for the team in this, the first match to get us off to a good start, feels unreal.”

“I was just a little bit unfortunate in the beginning of the third to lose my serve at the beginning, and then Jack started to serve really well from the beginning of the third,” Cilic said.

“Obviously I think he served much, much better in the fourth and fifth set. He was not giving me too many
chances on the return games. I had a break in the fifth that’s a little bit unfortunate to lose it. I was 3-1 up, 15-Love, and easy forehand in the middle of the court.

“Yeah, a little bit disappointed with that, just to lose that opportunity of getting that lead in the fifth set to make
that extra step to closing the match.

“You know, when I gave him a chance to come back I felt that he started to play also really well. He was very aggressive. Obviously last game I had 15-40 also to come back. You know, just one point where I went for a shot, missed a little bit.

“Overall, I think he played pretty good tennis in the last three sets. It’s not that I played so bad. I felt that
maybe I could have served better today. I was not serving as good as I can. Just from the game, obviously he’s very dangerous.
He can play very, very fast tennis. He’s got big forehand, so that was I think working well for him today.”

Tennis Panorama asked U.S. Davis Cup Jim Courier about he said to Sock after he went down two sets.

“Well, the second set Jack was up a break twice and was having trouble holding serve,” Courier said.

“Both of them were for that matter.

“But I felt like Jack was in a good position once the rallies got started. He just needed to execute.
“I though he was actually playing pretty well from a tactical standpoint in the second set. He just needed to lift his level a little bit and stay in there mentally and just be there.

“We also recognize that Marin had a tough loss in Wimbledon. He had chances to take out Roger Federer. Sometimes players coming off matches where they had match point and didn’t close a player out can be a little susceptible, too.

“So I was using that as a little bit of a carrot to keep Jack in there, too. Jack stayed in there point for point and fought hard and made it physical. He did a lot of great things out there today that will hopefully carry him to new places in his career.

“First time he’s come from two sets down. I think he learned a lot about himself out there. He deserves all the credit for it. He would’ve stayed in there I am pretty sure. He started to make that transition in the last month and a half or so mentally to sticking in there a little bit better.

“Today was just a manifestation of the work he’s been doing with Troy Hahn, his coach. Today it paid off for the team; certainly paid off big for him, too.”

On a day which saw top players Simona Halep and Milos Raonic withdraw from the Olympics due to concerns about the Zika Virus, both Cilic and Sock are looking forward to participating in the Olympic Games in Rio.

“Yeah, it’s really exciting” Sock commented. As a kid you grow up watching a lot of the Olympics – not only tennis, but a lot of the sports. Kind of a bucket list for every athlete I feel like to be able to represent your country on the biggest stage possible”

“I am very excited to get down there and rep the U.S., ” Sock an excited Sock. “Hopefully I can play some good tennis and wear the
colors proud. Definitely beyond happy.”

As for Cilic, “I’m going to play. A lot of guys have concerns about that (Zika virus), but I hope it’s going to be fine.”

Coric also commented on the Olympics: “As far as I’m concerned I’m going to play. I don’t have problems with Zika. Yeah, it’s going to be great experience for me. Going to be my first Olympics. I’m really looking forward to it.

“Obviously it’s very big thing. I’m only 19 and I’m going to be already there. Not many people can say that. So I’m just very proud of that. Obviously I’m just looking forward to it”

John Isner

John Isner

In the second rubber Borna Coric had no answers to John Isner’s serve, as the American nailed 23 aces in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 win over the teenage Croatianin a minute less than two hours.

The last of Isner’s aces came on match point.

Isner said that Sock’s comeback win helped his own momentum in his match.

“Oh, it helps a lot, he said. “I’m just sitting right here and he’s down two sets to love and things aren’t looking too good. He won the third set. I saw that he had a lot of positive energy on his side.

“Then he wins that fourth set, and I’m getting really animated in the locker room in the fifth set. He was able to pull it out playing incredible tennis.

“For me, it helps a lot. I feel like it takes a bit of pressure off me as well, knowing that regardless of what I do out there on the court, we’re not going to be losing. At worst, we’ll be 1-1.

“I was in a good spot going out there today thanks to Jack.”

Coric was pretty downcast after his loss to Isner.

“I lost, he said. “That’s what happened. I didn’t use my chances in the first two sets obviously. I had many chances to break him, and then on 5-4 in both sets I played really poor game. It was basically not much to say honestly.”

The USA is 0-3 against Croatia in Davis cup play, vying for a place in the semifinal round of Davis Cup.

The U.S. is 157-3 all-time when leading 2-0 after the first day of play and 40-1 when leading 2-0 since the World Group format began in 1981.

The doubles rubber will take place on Saturday with Bob and Mike Bryan of the USA going up against Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and Marin Draganja.

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Jack Sock Leads Off First Davis Cup Home Tie Against Marin Cilic

Jack Sock

(July 14, 2016) PORTLAND, Oregon – The draw for the USA versus Croatia quarterfinal Davis Cup tie took place in Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland on Thursday.

Jack Sock will lead off play Saturday against 2014 U.S. Open winner Marin Cilic. Cilic comes off a five-set loss in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon to Roger Federer, when the Croatian was leading two sets to none.

For the 23-year-old American Sock, ranked 26th in the world, this will his first Davis Cup tie played in the United States. This is the first time the U.S. has played at home since 2014.

Asked if he felt any added pressure, he said: “I mean, not necessarily any pressure.
“I’m more excited, honestly, to be playing on home soil. I love being a part of the team with these guys. They have a lot more experience than me out here.

“Yeah, I mean, maybe when I go out there, it will be a different feeling than when I played in Uzbekistan and Australia. But more excited than anything to be able to play in front of some home fans, some family and friends. Obviously playing in front of my country and these guys as well.

“Definitely more excited than nervous.”

The second match on Friday pits, No. 1 American John Isner, ranked 16th in the world, against No. 2 and No. 54 in the world, Croatian Borna Coric. They are playing each other for the first time.

The doubles rubber on Saturday will feature Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan of the United States against Ivan Dodigand Marin Draganja of Croatia.

Reverse singles will be played on Sunday with the No. 1’s battling in the first match, followed by the fifth rubber face-off between the No. 2’s.

Croatia comes into the tie having never lost to the United States with a 3-0 record. The U.S. last lost to Croatia in the 2009 World Group Quarterfinal in Porec, Croatia, in which Croatia won 3-2 with Cilic and Ivo Karlovic leading the team. The U.S. also played Croatia in the 2005 World Group First Round in Los Angeles and in the 2003 World Group First Round in Zagreb, Croatia.

The winner of the tie faces the winner of France-Czech Republic in the World Group semifinals.

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Davis Cup Notes and Quotes: USA vs Croatia, Pre-Draw News Conferences

(July 12, 2016) The United States plays host to Croatia in Beaverton, Oregon at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center, July 15-17, on an outdoor hard court in the quarterfinal round of the World Group in Davis Cup. Tuesday saw both teams have pre-draw news conferences.

 

U.S. Captain Jim Courier, John Isner, Jack Sock, Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan took questions from the media about the Davis Cup tie. Here are a few of the highlights from the news conference:

 

On the short turnaround from Wimbledon:

JACK SOCK: Yeah, I mean, obviously we were all in

London for a while, even playing warmup tournaments,

some of the guys.

 

We were all excited to get back in the States for sure.

Our favorite time of the year is to play in front of the

home crowd here in the States.

 

Especially for me, it’s my first home tie. I played two

ties kind of far away. For me, it will be nice to play in

front of a home crowd and be on a team with all these

guys. I think we’re all looking forward to it.

 

Asked if the team could change the trend of not having a Top 10 player and still winning the Cup.

CAPTAIN COURIER: Well, I think Davis Cup is also

pretty unique in that the home-field advantage can play

a big role. We’ve played a lot of tough teams, some

home, but a lot on the road as well.

 

For us to have a chance now to play here against a

tough team in Croatia, and should we get through this

weekend, which we obviously are here to do, and hope

to, we’d have a home match against France or the

Czechs.

 

You pay your dues in Davis Cup. You go on the road

and try and get your wins, but you also earn the

chance to play at home by playing those matches, too.

Draws matter. Team chemistry and makeup matters.

We have four guys here that love to play for their

country. I have a lot of confidence in them as the

captain, which is why we’re sitting here. I believe we

can win this Davis Cup.

 

I think this year is a really good opportunity for us. We

can’t go more than one step at a time, but it certainly

looks promising if we can get through this weekend.

 

On the debate about the Davis cup format and whether it should be changed.

CAPTAIN COURIER: Davis Cup format has been a

discussion point for the players since Open tennis

began. You can go back and get quotes from Stan

Smith on the challenges that the Davis Cup schedule

puts on the players.

 

When you put it in an Olympic year, like this year, you

look at the calendar, you see why Andy Murray and

Novak Djokovic are both declining to play this week for

their countries, and they’re players who typically play a

lot of Davis Cup. You can see why those challenges

still exist in a pretty crowded calendar.

 

The new president of the ITF, Dave Haggerty, was

president of the US Tennis Association. He’s very

progressive, and I think you’ll see change. It will be

incremental change. It won’t come tomorrow. But I

think you’ll see the ball start to roll towards a new look

in Davis Cup that is a little bit more of the times.

You have to remember the Davis Cup started in 1900,

long before the Masters, long before many massive

sporting events like the Ryder Cup.

 

Davis Cup will need to change if it wants to get more

attention. It’s still a wonderful event. It will be a

tremendous event here this weekend. The people in

attendance will absolutely love it. We’ll love it. But

there will be a lot of people on the east coast of

America that won’t be aware that it’s taking place,

which is one of the things that I think a change in

format would bring for Davis Cup, more attention, not to

mention it would make more money, which for the ITF

would do wonders for the growth of the game.

I have a lot of thoughts on it. It’s on the record. You

can look up my comments from years and years and

years ago on Davis Cup. But I’m sitting here because I

love to be a part of it, even in its current format.

Davis Cup succeeds largely in spite of the format, not

because of it.

 

Asked about strategy against Croatia.

CAPTAIN COURIER: Look, it’s pretty clear what our

strengths are. Bob and Mike on the court are just so

complete. They move in sync. They make it very

difficult for other teams to hit winners. They extract a

lot of errors. Bob and Mike will do their normal dance

out there, which is a thing of beauty to watch. It’s been

incredible to be a captain and witness what they’re able

to do for us.

 

Jack and John, although the heights are a little bit

different, the style and the strengths are very similar.

Serves and forehands are the shots. They’re the ones

that will cause opponents to lose sleep.

 

That gives me great comfort as a captain because that

was my bread and butter, too. I think I have a pretty

good understanding of how they need to play and what

they do on the court well.

 

The other team, just to give you a quick overview,

Marin Cilic, big server, solid off both wings on the

ground, moves pretty well for a big guy. Obviously has

tasted sweet success at slams and tasted some

frustration last week at Wimbledon when he had three

match points against Federer.

 

How will that impact him here? We’ll only know come

Friday when he gets back on the court, because that’s

the only way to figure that out.

 

Coric, probably a better backhand than forehand.

Moves well. Very hungry, very professional for a 19-

year-old. He’s a rising star who won the fifth match for

these guys earlier this year. Has good Davis Cup

experience.

 

Not sure what we’ll face doubles-wise. We know Ivan

Dodig is a terrific doubles player. He has been one of

the top doubles players for a long time. So not sure

who he’ll match up with. Not sure what the

composition of their team will be come Thursday when

they have to tell us, because they have another player

named Skugor, who has played for them, who is also

here with them on site. So they have five players.

There is a lot of unknowables right now on the doubles

format. Cilic is a good doubles player. He could find

himself on the court on Saturday, too.

That’s my overview.

 

Asked about what he needs to do to jump up in the rankings.

JACK SOCK: That was an incredible win by Sam(Querrey). I

think everyone sitting here, everyone in this room, is

very happy for him.

 

Yeah, I mean, obviously the consistency from Novak

and those other guys at the top is what separates

them. I mean, they’re doing it week in, week out,

winning a majority of the tournaments, majority of the

slams.

 

Yeah, I mean, the skill level could be very slim and

anyone can kind of beat anyone on any given day. It’s

probably the little things, the preparation and

everything that goes into it, might be a couple levels

better, a hair better. That can make the difference.

For myself personally, obviously everyone here,

everyone’s always trying to improve and do the little

things the best they can. Doing that week in, week out

can only help us. Hopefully that gap will close sooner

than later.

 

JOHN ISNER: Jack said it. It’s about consistency.

Myself and Jack are very capable of having some very

good weeks on the tour, going deep into some big

tournaments. But these guys do it week in and week

out. That’s really what separates them from everyone

else. It’s what makes them the toughest out in tennis.

You know when you step on the court against them,

you’re going to be up against a very high level of talent

and dedication. Also these guys mentally are so

strong and have been doing it for so long, always have

a lot of confidence because they have a lot of wins

behind them.

 

It’s all about being consistent. It’s what those guys do

remarkably well. As Jack eluded to, we see these guys

in the locker room, on the practice courts. They’re

extremely professional. It’s one of the reasons they’re

top in the world, is because they do absolutely

everything right.

 

 

Team Croatia which included Captain also handled questions from the press with Captain Krajan, Marin Cilic, Borna Coric and Ivan Dodig in attendance.

Asked if members of the team remember Croatia winning the Davis Cup in 2005 and how important it was to their country.

BORNA CORIC: I’m the youngest, so I’m going to

answer first.

 

Basically I started playing even more serious when that

happen. I was very young at that time and I wasn’t

sure if I’m going to try to go pro or not. This was big

thing for the Croatia, as well, and also for me.

It gave me some boost to go forward. It was

unbelievable.

 

MARIN CILIC: Generally it has definitely huge impact

on tennis, in general, especially for a country that small

like Croatia. It was one of the country’s best

achievements in the history. So that’s definitely huge.

I think it gave also a little bit of financial help for the

young ones. Obviously winning it, it’s a big thing. It

attracted few more sponsors for the Federation and

obviously gave a little bit more opportunities for the

young ones.

 

We of course would like that it is still a bit more. But at

that time I think for the young ones was pretty good,

and they could, you know, just look up to the best guys

and follow their lead. That’s, for sure, big motivation.

 

Asked if perfect 3-0 record against the US gives the team confidence.

CAPTAIN KRAJAN: I mean, for sure it gives you

confidence when you are playing against somebody

that you are already 3-Love ahead, better than if you’re

3-Love down.

It’s different because it’s different players, different

times. It’s not the same teams. From that side it is

different.

 

Again, probably there is something that suits us playing

States. We are pretty positive about this tie also.

 

Why is the Croatian team so good?

CAPTAIN KRAJAN: I mean, simply they’re good,

they’re very good. You all know Marin, and you know

what he achieved here in the States. I think you all

remember what he did in New York.

 

You know Borna, what kind of potential. He’s one of

the youngest, best players at his age in the world.

Ivan, great singles player, winning slam in the doubles.

I think they all top players in the world. As I said, that’s

why we are strong and we are looking forward for this

tie.

 

Asked about what it feels like to be a

Grand Slam champion.

IVAN DODIG: Yeah, I think it’s really special moment

for every athlete. For us is to win Grand Slam. It’s

obviously like you feel all the work you put into it, it’s in

the end rewarded. I think every player who start to play

tennis, dreaming about big things, is to win Grand

Slam.

 

Me and Marin had this great feeling. I hope I can still

continue in doubles, do some great results. Still I’m

motivate and hope I can get more Grand Slam. As well

for all our guys here, for Marin, Borna, other Marin. I

think we have great potential and will still have great

moments, as well.

 

MARIN CILIC: Tennis is a very difficult sport looking

mentally. You are all year round going up and down

with your emotions. You’re wondering if you are going

to achieve your best potential, if you’re doing the best

things possible for yourself.

 

Obviously winning a Grand Slam is a part for yourself

that you achieve for all your career, all your life.

Everything you’ve put into it is suddenly worth it. For

me, you have different view on tennis, on your career.

You are obviously more relaxed, but as well on the

other side you are more motivated as you know your

potential, as you know what you can do, what you can

achieve.

 

To be especially in this time, in this era with great

tennis players, the ones that are breaking so many

records, it’s definitely very challenging. It carries a

bigger weight to win a Grand Slam. So it’s definitely a

huge, huge motivation for me to continue on this path.

It’s a sign for all the other guys that are not achieving

their best potential yet, you know, that they can see

with hard work, with dedication, you can of course

believe and achieve these big things.

 

 

The Official Draw Ceremony for the U.S. vs. Croatia Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinal will take place at 1:00 p.m. PT on Thursday, July 14, at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland. The ceremony will be open to the public.

Croatia is set to play its tenth tie away from home in its last 11 Davis Cup ties, while the United States is seeking to get back to the semifinals for the first time since 2012. The U.S. last won the Davis Cup in December 2007 in Portland, Oregon.

Singles play begins at 11:30 a.m. PT on Friday, July 15, and Sunday, July 17. Doubles play begins on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. PT. Tennis Channel will have television coverage.

Davis Cup Quarterfinals and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Tennis Channel

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Isner, Sock and the Bryan Brothers Named to U.S. Davis Cup Team for Quarterfinal Tie Against Croatia in Beaverton, Oregon

USDavisCup

 

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 5, 2016 – The USTA and United States Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier today announced that top-ranked American and world No. 17 John Isner, world No. 26 Jack Sock and 16-time Grand Slam doubles champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan will represent the U.S. in the 2016 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Quarterfinal against Croatia. The best-of-five match series will be played on a temporary outdoor hard court at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center, July 15-17, in Portland, Ore.

Croatia’s Davis Cup Captain Zeljko Krajan nominated No. 13 and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, No. 50 Borna Coric, Ivan Dodig, who is ranked No. 15 in doubles, and Marin Draganja, who is a former Top 20 doubles player, to his team.

Play begins at 11:30 a.m. PT on Friday, July 15, and Sunday, July 17. Play begins on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. PT. Friday will include two singles matches featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the other country’s No. 2 player. Saturday’s schedule features the pivotal doubles match. And the final day of play on Sunday features the two “reverse singles” matches, when the No. 1 players square off, followed by the No. 2 players meeting each other in the final match. All matches are best-of-five sets until one nation clinches the tie. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match.

Tickets are available and may be purchased by visiting www.usta.com/daviscup or by calling 888-484-USTA (8782). Prices for single-day tickets for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday range from $40 to $175 per day. The USTA has partnered with the Oregon Sports Authority to bring this event to the Portland area. The USTA has also partnered with tie sponsors Delta Air Lines, Comcast Business, Nike, and the City of Beaverton, along with the following tie suppliers North American Breweries, The Juice Plus+ Company, Ponzi Vineyards and Beaverton Honda

Croatia holds a 3-0 record over the United States in Davis Cup, one of only three countries that hold a winning record over the U.S. The U.S. last faced Croatia in the 2009 World Group Quarterfinal and also faced them in 2003 and 2005. This will be the United States’ first home tie since 2014. The U.S. is 111-18 all-time in Davis Cup ties played at home.

The winner of this match advances to the World Group Semifinal, held September 16-18, for a chance to compete for the 2016 Davis Cup title.

Isner, 31, is ranked No. 17 in the current world rankings and will be competing in his 12th Davis Cup tie; he is 10-9 in singles and 2-0 in doubles. His last Davis Cup appearance came this year in the first round in Melbourne, Australia, where Isner won both of his singles matches. His biggest Davis Cup victory came in 2012, when he defeated Roger Federer in the U.S. Davis Cup team’s first-round win at Switzerland. The tallest player in U.S. Davis Cup history, at 6-foot-10, Isner made his Davis Cup debut in the 2010 World Group First Round in Serbia, where he became the first U.S. player since 2003 to compete in three live rubbers in the same tie. He also represented the U.S. in the 2012 London Olympics, reaching the quarterfinals before losing to Federer. Isner turned pro after an outstanding four-year career at the University of Georgia, leading the Bulldogs to the 2007 NCAA team title as a senior. He holds 10 career tour singles titles, the last of which came in Atlanta during the 2015 Emirates Airline US Open Series. So far this year, he has reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and the French Open and the semifinals of the ATP clay-court event in Houston. 

Sock, 23, is ranked No. 26 in the world. He made his Davis Cup debut in September 2015 in the World Group Playoff in Uzbekistan, where he won both of his singles matches to keep the U.S. Davis Cup team in the World Group for this year. Sock also competed in the Davis Cup first round this March in Australia. He reached the final of the ATP events in Auckland and Houston earlier this year and won his first ATP singles title in 2015 in Houston. Sock has also thrived in doubles, winning the 2014 Wimbledon doubles title and the 2015 Indian Wells crown with Vasek Pospisil and peaking at a career-high No. 6 in the individual doubles rankings in May 2015; he also reached the doubles quarterfinals of the 2015 French Open and 2016 Australian Open. In 2011, Sock won the US Open mixed doubles title with fellow American Melanie Oudin.

Bob and Mike Bryan, both 38, hold a 24-4 doubles record together in U.S. Davis Cup competition; the 24 wins are first all-time in U.S. Davis Cup history for a tandem. Bob and Mike, the only brothers to pair in victory for the U.S. Davis Cup team, hold the all-time Open era record of most Grand Slam men’s doubles titles (16) and ATP doubles titles (112). In addition, the Bryan brothers won the gold medal in doubles at the 2012 Olympics in London, where they completed a career Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal. The Bryans ended 2014 as the No. 1-ranked doubles team in the world for a record 10th time in 12 years.

Overall, Bob holds a 25-4 doubles record in Davis Cup competition; he is also 4-2 in singles (all dead rubbers). Mike holds a 26-4 record in Davis Cup doubles matches, playing without Bob just twice in his Davis Cup career. Bob did not compete in the 2012 first-round match at Switzerland due to the birth of his daughter, Micaela; in that case, Mike teamed with Mardy Fish to defeat 2008 Olympic doubles gold medalists Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka to clinch the tie. Mike also partnered with Fish in the 2008 semifinal against Spain. Bob played without Mike (food poisoning) in the 2010 first round in Serbia, partnering instead with Fish.

Additionally, U.S. Captain Jim Courier announced the practice partners for the U.S. Davis Cup team—former junior standout Tommy Paul and University of Illinois alum Jared Hiltzik. Paul, 19, won the 2015 French Open junior singles title, becoming the sixth American ever to win the title, and also reached the final of the junior US Open in 2015. He peaked at a career-high No. 3 in the ITF World Junior Rankings in fall 2015. As a pro, Paul captured his first career USTA Pro Circuit singles at the $10,000 Futures events in Plantation, Fla., and Sunrise, Fla., this year. Hiltzik, 21, graduated this year from the University of Illinois, where he earned three All-America honors—one of three players in program history to ever do so—and  finished his collegiate career as the eighth-winningest singles player in program history with 115 wins. He also reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament as a junior in 2014. Hiltzik won his first USTA Pro Circuit doubles title this year at the Collegiate Series event in Winston-Salem, N.C., and reached his first USTA Pro Circuit singles final last year at the $15,000 Futures in Godfrey, Ill.

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Juan Monaco Rallies to Win Second U.S. Clay Court Championship Title

(April 10, 2016) Juan Monaco rallied past an ailing defending champion Jack Sock 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 to win his second U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship on Sunday. The Argentine also won the tournament in 2012. Just nine months ago, Monaco had wrist surgery, and back on the tour for only two months and now holding a trophy.

“I didn’t expect this so fast,” Monaco said during the trophy presentation. “No words to describe this moment.”

“It’s amazing, amazing to hold the trophy again in only my fourth tournament back, after three years” said the 32-year-old. He last won a tournament in 2013. “It’s almost like a dream come true for it to happen so fast. The hard work really paid off.”

“Today was a quick movie of my life.”

This is Monaco’s ninth career ATP World Tour title.

The 23-year-old American Sock suffered from problems with his right arm and cramps, which was evident in the final set.

“I felt great all week. I’m not exactly sure what happened with my body,” Sock said after the match. “Last night, I didn’t feel great. I was sweating in a very air-conditioned room, so maybe possibly coming down with something. But that doesn’t take away from battle and fight today. It came down to the wire. I tried my best and put it all out there.”

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Former Champs Monaco, Sock To Meet in Houston Final, Bryan Brothers Win Record Sixth Clay Courts Crown

Jack Sock

Jack Sock

(April 9, 2016) Two former champions, Jack Sock (2015) and Juan Monaco (2012), will meet in the final at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship on Sunday. For just the fifth time in the Open Era two past champions are meeting in the final, and this is the first time since 2003 when Andre Agassi defeated Andy Roddick. Sock will be trying to win a second straight Houston title.

The fourth seed Sock knocked out No. 1 seed John Isner 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the semifinals on Saturday. Monaco beat third seed Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-2.
The winner will be the eighth player to have won this title multiple times in the Open Era. The most recent multiple winners were Agassi (2003 and 1988) and Roddick (2005, 2002 and 2001).
Bryan brothers

Bob and Mike Bryan won their record 110th doubles title together, beating Victor Estrella Burgos and Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 for their first title of the year.

“It feels great to get over the hump and win number 110 after a bit of title drought,” Mike said. “There’s no better place to do it than in Houston, where we’ve enjoyed so much success and had unbelievable fan support. Thanks to the River Oaks Country Club and its members for another fantastic tournament.”

“It was a battle from the first point to the last but we feel like we played our best tennis down the stretch,” said Bob. It’s nice to pull out some close wins after losing a few tight matches to start the season. We’re looking forward to building momentum through the clay court season.”

For the Bryans, it was their sixth title in Houston. They have also won six titles at the Australian Open and Los Angeles.

RESULTS – Saturday, April 9, 2016
Singles Semifinals
[4] Jack Sock (USA) d [1] John Isner (USA) 7-6(4) 6-3
Juan Monaco (Argentina) d [3] Feliciano Lopez (Spain) 6-4 6-2

Doubles Final
[1] Bob Bryan (USA) / Mike Bryan (USA) d Victor Estrella Burgos (Dominican Republic) / Santiago Gonzalez (Mexico) 4-6 6-3 10-8

SCHEDULE – Sunday, April 10, 2016
Center Court – 2:00 pm start
Juan Monaco (Argentina) vs [4] Jack Sock (USA)

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Davis Cup: Isner “Aces” Australia, Powers U.S. to Quarterfinals with Victory over Tomic

DAVIS CUP: ISNER “ACES” AUSTRALIA

Powers U.S. to Quarterfinals with victory over Tomic

By Junior Williams

(March 6, 2016) MELBOURNE, Australia – John Isner blasted 49 aces – including one on match point – to give the United States a 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(4) victory over Bernard Tomic and Australia, securing an unassailable 3-1 lead and advancing into the quarterfinal round of the Davis Cup World Group.

In the first set, Isner took advantage of his first break point opportunity with a successful backhand volley, putting the U.S. up 3-2.

The world No. 11 finished the set with ten aces and won all six of his net points.

Isner’s next break of serve came in the second set when Tomic netted a return from the American, resulting in a 4-3 U.S. lead. Tomic shook his right wrist numerous times during that game and had it wrapped during the changeover. Isner went on to win the set after a Tomic volley at net went wide.

The momentum shifted in the third set, when Tomic began impersonating a backboard, successfully defending against the Isner serve. The world number 24 secured the set on his fifth break point of the game, giving hope to a home crowd cheering for a comeback.

But in the end, Isner pulled through after being down a mini-break early in the fourth-set tiebreak, rebounding to go up 5-4 – putting the match on his racket.

It was only fitting that he closed out the match — and the tie — with his 49th ace.

”We always knew it was going to be very difficult coming down here,” said U.S. captain Jim Courier. ”Our team came good. John stepped up today.”

“It was incredible tie for us,” Isner said. “We knew Australia was going to be tough and they put up a great fight.”

With the victory, The U.S. avoided a fifth and deciding rubber that the Aussie faithful at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club had been hoping for: A potential match-up between American Jack Sock and Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt.

Halfway through the second set Tomic was picked up on a court microphone berating his countryman Nick Kyrgios who could not play the tie due to a virus. Tomic said to Hewitt during a changeover: “While I’m here, Nick’s sitting down in Canberra. Bull**** he’s sick.”

Next up for the U.S. A home tie in July against the winner of the first round tie between Belgium and Croatia.

***************************************************************************************************

Some irony involving the U.S. victory over Australia: International Tennis Federation admitted the tie should have played on hard court instead of on grass. That’s because of an agreement in 1999 to have the Aussies play the Americans in the U.S. that year to celebrate the Davis Cup centennial – this despite it being Australia’s turn to host a tie between the two countries.

 

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Melbourne covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Australia.

 

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Bryan Brothers Hang on to Beat Hewitt and Peers in Davis Cup Five-Set Thriller

DAVIS CUP: U.S. HANGS ON TO BEAT AUSTRALIA

Goes up 2-1 after Bryans hold off Hewitt & Peers in 5-set thriller

By Junior Williams

(March 5, 2016) MELBOURNE, Australia – Bob and Mike Bryan fought off a comeback attempt by Lleyton Hewitt and John Peers to give the U.S. a 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Australia at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, putting the Americans up 2-1 against the home team in their Davis Cup World Group First Round tie.

Australian Davis Cup Captain, the recently retired Lleyton Hewitt, inserted himself into Saturday’s line-up.

“Yeah we made the decision last night,” said Hewitt, making his debut as Davis Cup Captain. “Just, you know, sharing the workload really. You know, that was the determining factor. We thought whatever pair we went with had an outside chance of going well. But, you know, that was probably the determining factor in the end.”

The Bryans raced out to a two sets to none lead by breaking the Aussies three times — twice on team captain Hewitt’s serve. But Australia began to rally after breaking the U.S. to go up 4-3 in the third set – Hewitt hitting solid returns and yelling “come on” for good measure, while Peers was stellar at the net and with his ground strokes. He closed out the set with a serve and volley point.

Australia maintained its momentum buy winning the fourth set, capped by put away at the net by Hewitt which sent the crowd into a frenzy.

But in the end, the Bryans showed why they’ve won 106 titles as a doubles team. They regained their groove by going up 2-0 in the fifth set after breaking Australia at love. With strong net play and service games, the Americans remained consistent throughout the set, winning all six of their second serve points and committing no unforced errors. The final point was an overhead smash at the net, followed by the twins’ trademark celebratory chest bump. The Bryans are now 24-4 as a doubles team in Davis Cup competition.

“The level was incredible on both sides of the net,“ noted U.S. Captain Jim Courier. “Grass court doubles can sometimes be a little bit messy because it’s so quick, tough to return. But man, the level from first ball was extremely high and obviously it got very complicated there after the second set. Those guys lifted, Lleyton in particular lifted his returns and fortunately Bob and Mike did the same in the fifth set and really put a stamp on it early which was big and just held it out.

Bob Bryan was not surprised by Hewitt’s decision to take the court. “No, not at all, He said. “He was practising 10 feet from us all week, playing lots of doubles, playing lots of singles, playing more than anyone out there and, you know, the guy’s an accomplished doubles player and probably this is his best surface to play on. With that serve, you know, it slides away, those cutter serves and he can return well on anything.”

On Sunday, World No. 11 John Isner will look to clinch the tie in a reverse singles match against Australia’s Bernard Tomic. Both players won their respective Friday matches. If it comes down to a fifth and deciding rubber, it’s scheduled to be American Jack Sock versus Sam Groth, but don’t rule out the possibility of Captain Hewitt stepping in for the Aussies.

“Well, it’s going to be an exciting day for sure,” Courier said, “Bernie played awfully well yesterday, so did John. So that’s where we’ll start and it looks like it’s going to be a toasty one again, so you know, that could play a part in the match. Hopefully John has been, I would think a little fresher than Bernie given he only played three sets might be a factor. But it’s going to be exciting, the crowd’s going to be jacked up. You know, we’re going to be ready for a fifth obviously too, and at this stage we don’t know necessarily if it’s going to be Sam or Lleyton playing in that fifth. Where Lleyton played, you know, I would think he would give himself consideration should there be a live fifth match.

“So we’ll be ready for that eventuality if it comes to pass. But this is why we love this competition, you know, it’s Sunday, it’s live, it’s all on the line and energy levels are going to be extraordinary.”

As to what to expect on Sunday, Hewitt said: “We need Bernie to win, so it’s pretty simple at the moment. So, you know, that’s obviously our main focus. He’s our number one player, he’s the leader of the team and you know, he played awfully well yesterday and we’re going to need that again out of him tomorrow.”

As for the former No. 1, will he insert himself into the singles line-up? Hewitt said, “ Possibly, wait and see.”

 

===============

 

NET CORDS

 

Unlike Friday, fans and players at Kooyong received a break from severe heat. Temperatures ranged between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with lots of cloud cover and an occasional light breeze.

 

Kudos to the Aussie “Fanatics” band for their cover versions of songs including Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger,” Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” and Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon.”

 

Prior to the match, a moment of silence was observed in memory of legendary tennis journalist and commentator Bud Collins, who died at the age of 86.

 

U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim courier on the passing of Bud Collins: “Bud meant an immense amount to the sport of tennis and touched so many people. The things I remember about Bud were his generosity to everyone and general enthusiasm for life. Not just for tennis, but for travel and for learning and for sharing his stories. He was so kind and super positive. I had the privilege of working on television with Bud for NBC for several tournaments, so I go to know him and his lovely wife Anita very well. It is a sad day.”

 

Bob Bryan on the passing of Bud Collins: “It’s obviously a sad day, the guy meant a lot to tennis, he was so colorful and a positive part of our sport. We knew him pretty well and he was always so kind to us and gave us great advice, and you know, he was such a veteran and had been around this tour for so many years and he was a very familiar face at every tournament and we’ll definitely miss him.”

 

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Melbourne covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Australia.

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Davis Cup: Deadlocked Down Under, USA and Australia Tied at 1-1

 

DAVIS CUP: DEADLOCKED DOWN UNDER

U.S., Australia tied at 1-1 in World Group First Round

 

By Junior Williams

(March 4, 2016) MELBOURNE, Australia – On a sizzling hot afternoon which saw temperatures surge close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, Bernard Tomic defeated Jack Sock 7-6(2), 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, to bring Australia even with the United States at 1-1 in their Davis Cup World Group First Round tie at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.

Tomic’s victory came after American John Isner dispatched Sam Groth 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-2 to give the U.S. an early lead.

It was a tight but impressive first set for Tomic, who won all 22 of his first serve points. His ball striking and defense of Sock’s ground strokes also gave the Australian the edge.

The world’s 20th-ranked player continued his momentum in the second set, securing it by breaking Sock with a shot that handcuffed the American on what was the fifth set point.

Sock bounced back in the third set, breaking Tomic for the first time in the match after the Australian mishit a ball past the baseline. The world number 24 also broke Tomic in the final game of the set.

But Tomic — who was 0-3 head-to-head against Sock prior to this match — took control in the fourth set, going up 5-4 winning a break point after rocketing a deep return of serve that Sock hit into the net.

Tomic closed out the 2 hour 24-minute match in the following game, to the delight of the home crowd. He won 120 points to Sock’s 114.

“It was very tough out there,” Tomic said. “I haven’t beaten Sock before so I knew that it was going to be tough. Anyone that you haven’t beaten before in your career – I think he’s on 2 or 3-0 record against me. So, for me I knew it was going to be tough but also playing him on a surface where I could beat him on and I was very happy because the conditions were very tough because I travelled so quickly here and you have to reset and you only have two or three days. So for me it was very tough out there.”

The top Australian admitted that it was difficult to get through the fourth set: “It was very tough because I had chances to be up a break in the third and then he got that break and it became a little bit hotter and after playing those first two sets everything got to me. So I had to find a bit of that energy and sometimes that’s good, I mean, I lapse away with my concentration a lot and that, to me, is a good thing because you rebuild your energy and it worked out in my favour in that fourth set. Gee, can you listen to that rain? I swear I finished and three minutes later it started.”

“Bernie did really well,” said Australian Davis Cup Captain Lleyton Hewitt. “Right from the start he came out serving great, hitting his spots really well. That was obviously a key to not let Jack get into too many of Bernie’s service games and we felt like Bernie’s going to get a lot more into his and put a lot more pressure on his second serve and he was able to do that. Bernie, the first set was a huge key as well and he played a great tie break, he picked the right side on a couple of shots and came up with a couple big passes and to have that first set, you know, it was hot out there as well especially those first couple of sets and once he went two sets to love up, he had a little lull there, which, you know, it happens in any five set matches. It’s about how you respond to that and he found a way in the fourth set. It’s not an easy thing to do to come out when you’re the number one player for your country and you’re one love down in Davis Cup in a World Group match. Bernie did fantastic today and he’s done absolutely everything that we’ve asked of him all week.”

“Bernie played some good tennis today when he needed to and came up with some good shots and, I’ll just take away you know the things I need to work on from that and take it into Sunday,” Sock said in press.

“Well we were put on grass, that’s the biggest difference I would say. I’ve played him on some slow hardcourts and some other hardcourts where you know my style definitely matches up well against and you know, his favourite surface is grass. His best results, you know, in the Slam are on grass and very crafty out there and his game is suitable for it. But, you know, I was in there and I felt confident after getting that third and then having a few chances early in the fourth, definitely felt like I was right. So, you know, for me my least experience has been on grass, so for me it actually did take away some confidence today playing out there against an experienced grass player and I’ll definitely use that for Sunday.”

In the opening match — a battle of high-powered servers — John Isner hit 20 aces and held serve throughout the match, despite six break point opportunities for Sam Groth, who was tapped to play singles for Australia after Nick Kyrgios pulled out of the competition due to illness.

The first set included a lot of what you’d expect, with eleven aces for Groth and ten for Isner. Groth also sprinkled in some doubles skills, winning four out of six net points. But Isner won a first set tiebreak, helped by a successful challenge that gave him a mini-break, and an ace up the middle to capture the set.

After that it was all Isner. Aside from his service game, the world No. 11 consistently cracked forehand and backhand winners up the sidelines. He also was helped by Groth’s first-serve percentage of 48-percent in the second set. The Georgia Bulldog notched his victory in 1 hour 49 minutes.

“It was a lot of confidence, you know, getting through that first set, I mean, I knew I was going to go out there, I knew I wasn’t going to be feeling fantastic right away,” Isner said. “Of course there’s a lot of nerves and you know, I haven’t seen his serve yet. So I got rid of those nerves in the first set and I got used to seeing the serve out there, so I became a lot more comfortable after that first set and I think it showed right away. I believe I broke the first game of the second set.

“So it was a very, very good performance for me and certainly I’ve played some matches in a lot in my career where I’ve struggled on return but I think today I was pretty solid.”

Isner commented on the court conditions with temperatures close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. “Yeah I thought the court was great, he said. “The heat was pretty hot. It was more humid than I’ve ever played in Melbourne it’s generally dryer in my opinion, but it was pretty humid. At the same time in a match up like that, you tell me how many rallies we had more than five shots, so it could have been 200 degrees out there and I probably would have felt all right.”

“I think the first set was always going to be big, especially in the way we both play, we both play with a little bit of confidence, both play behind our serve and especially on a day where it’s quite hot out there as well,” Groth said. “You know, had I maybe taken a chance, that 0-40 game earlier, maybe it’s a different story but I felt like after that when he won that back-hand winner that clipped the line in the tie breaker and then his confidence just seemed to build. He started taking cuts on returns and, you know, to his credit they started going in.”

The tie now moves to doubles Saturday. Future Hall of Famers Bob and Mike Bryan are slated for the U.S., with Groth and doubles specialist John Peers scheduled to go for Australia.

But the watch is on to see if captain Lleyton Hewitt will put himself in the mix for the green and gold.

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Melbourne covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Australia.

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