Querrey and Isner Give USA a 2-0 Lead Over Serbia in Davis Cup World Group First Round
(February 2, 2018) Sam Querrey and John Isner gave the U.S. to a 2-0 lead over Serbia in a Davis Cup World Group First Round tie in Nis, Serbia on Friday.
Querrey defeated Laslo Djere, 6-7(4), 6-2, 7-5, 6-4, and Isner outlasted Dusan Lajovic in five sets, 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(4), to spot the Americans a lead they rarely relinquish, as the U.S. is 158-4 in Davis Cup ties after a 2-0 start.
The Americans found solid footing on the Sportski Centar Cair’s indoor red clay court thanks to consistent serves clocking near 140 mph — they combined for 44 aces — and a steady variety of forehands to the tune of 90 combined winners that left the score 2-0 after a total of 6 hours, 17 minutes on court.
Querrey met Djere for the first time in a match between the American No. 1 and Serbian No. 2, and Djere played a near-flawless first set in front of his home fans. Querrey’s relentless power, though, eventually wore down the 22-year old former Orange Bowl boys’ champion, as the tall Californian fired 20 aces and 40 winners, compared to Djere’s 11 and 19, respectively.
“I expected a tough match,” Querrey said. “Davis Cups are always tricky. If you just look around at the other scores from the other ties today, there’s some close ones, with some guys where there was some ranking discrepancies, so Davis Cups are different. I came out as a little nervous, but once I got a break in the second set I settled in a little bit. It was a battle until the end, there. He had some looks at love-30 twice in the fourth and I was fortunate enough to serve those out. It just feels good to get through it.”
Isner and Lajovic’s latest grind lasted 3 hours, 15 minutes, before Isner notched his fourth win over the Serbian in five tries (and nine of their 16 sets played have gone to tiebreak). Though Lajovic showed tremendous resolve and committed only 11 unforced errors compared to Isner’s 49, the Georgian’s serve and forehand stayed with him through all five sets — he hit 24 aces and 42 of his 50 winners came on the forehand.
“For me, personally, I knew the match was going to be tough,” Isner said. “I didn’t come into this tie playing great tennis. It’s been awhile since I was playing really good tennis — it was at the beginning of November last year, in Paris. Didn’t play too well in Australia. When I said to these guys, you don’t just go out and play lights out. You play well from a culmination of winning matches, and winning matches like that. For me, personally, that’s exactly what I needed. I needed to play a match like that, get my legs fit, and my body needs to be sore. That’s what I needed. More importantly than that, I’m happy I was able to contribute to the USA being up 2-0. Sam did his job, I barely did my job, but we’re up 2-0.”
The U.S. team hands the controls to Ryan Harrison and Steve Johnson to attempt to clinch the tie on Saturday in doubles.
Harrison and Johnson have only played doubles together five times, and are 3-2, though each has had impressive doubles results individually. Harrison is the reigning French Open champion, while Johnson was a Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and is 3-0 on Saturdays in Davis Cup.
They’re scheduled to take on the Serbian team of Nikola Milojevic — a former junior world No. 1 — and Miljan Zekic — a 29-year old Challenger- and Pro Circuit-level clay-court specialist, though Serbian Captain Nenad Zimonjic may substitute either player up to one hour before Saturday’s match.
Captain Jim Courier talked about day 1 of the tie: “Long and successful, is how I would sum it up, in the briefest of sentences. It was a grind. The matches were both highly competitive. There were some pivotal moments in the matches — John’s match, in particular, came pretty late. But it’s a satisfying feeling. We’ve been on the other side of days like today, so to be up 2-0 is a tremendous feeling, and we’re very proud of these guys’ efforts.”
Play begins Saturday at 3 p.m. locally, 9 a.m. ET, and will air live on Tennis Channel.
DAY / MATCH TIME
Friday, 3 p.m. (9 a.m. ET)
Singles A: Sam Querrey (USA) d. Laslo Djere (SRB), 6-7(4), 6-2, 7-5, 6-4
Singles B: John Isner (USA) d. Dusan Lajovic (SRB), 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(4)
Saturday, 3 p.m. (9 a.m. ET)*
Doubles: Ryan Harrison/Steve Johnson (USA)
vs. Nicola Milojevic/Miljan Zekic (SRB)
Sunday, 2 p.m. (8 a.m. ET)
Singles C: Sam Querrey (USA) vs. Dusan Lajovic (SRB)
Singles D: John Isner (USA) vs. Laslo Djere (SRB)