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2012 Year In Review: Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympics

December 30, 2012 06:00 PM
The U.S. Davis Cup team reached the semifinals for the first time since 2008.
The U.S. Fed Cup team regained its spot in the World Group for 2013.
Bob and Mike Bryan won their first career Olympic gold medals in London.
By Erin Bruehl, USTA.com
 
As 2012 comes to a close, USTA.com looks back at what was a highly successful year for its Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Olympic teams. The Davis Cup team reached the semifinals for the first time since 2008, the Fed Cup team earned a return trip to the World Group and the Olympic team brought home three gold medals. All in all, it was a year to be proud of for all three teams.
 
Davis Cup:
 
When the 2012 Davis Cup draw was held, it looked to many that it would take a Herculean effort for the U.S. to avoid losing in the first round to Switzerland and 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, let alone make it to the competition’s semifinals for the first time since 2008 or the finals for the first time since 2007.
 
But the U.S. team, under the guidance of Captain Jim Courier, pulled off a seemingly improbable 5-0 upset on the road in Switzerland, with John Isner emerging as the new team closer. He earned one of the biggest wins of his career, defeating Federer in four sets to give the U.S. a 2-0 advantage on Day 1. (Earlier, Mardy Fish beat Stanislas Wawrinka in a match lasting more than four hours.) Isner then provided the clinching point Sunday after Fish and Mike Bryan beat Federer and Wawrinka to win the doubles point on Day 2.
 
Isner cemented his status as the team’s go-to No. 1 in the U.S.’s 3-2 road victory over France in the quarterfinals. He provided the clinching point in the tie for the first time in his Davis Cup career, defeating Top 10 player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Day 3 after defeating Top 20 player Gilles Simon on Day 1. Bob Bryan made his Davis Cup return—he missed the opening tie against Switzerland to remain at home with his newborn daughter—and teamed with twin brother Mike to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead after Day 2 with a win over Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra. Ryan Harrison also made his Davis Cup live-rubber debut in the tie, playing No. 2 singles for the U.S. for the first time.
 
The win put the U.S. into the semifinals for the first time since 2008, an away tie on red clay against Spain. It was another difficult ask for the U.S., as Isner, the Bryans and Sam Querrey battled the Spanish team of David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro, Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez but came up just short of the final, falling 3-1 in Gijon. Ferrer beat Querrey in four sets and Almagro squeaked by Isner in five sets on Day 1. The Bryans won a tight doubles rubber in four sets over Granollers and Lopez to keep the U.S. alive on Day 2, remaining unbeaten in Davis Cup away ties in the process, but Ferrer provided the clinching point for Spain on Day 3 by defeating Isner in four sets.
 
Click here for photos of the U.S. Davis Cup team in 2012.
 
Fed Cup:
 
The U.S. Fed Cup team had a clear goal entering the 2012 campaign: Regain its status in the prestigious World Group.
After opening-round and World Group Playoff losses in 2011, the U.S. was relegated to World Group II in 2012 for the first time in its history.
 
The first task was defeating Belarus in the opening round in Worcester, Mass., with Serena and Venus Williams both making their returns to the U.S. Fed Cup team. World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka was a late scratch from the competition for Belarus, and behind two singles wins each from Serena and Christina McHale and a doubles win from Venus and Liezel Huber, the U.S. swept 5-0 to move once again into a World Group Playoff.
 
Team USA next traveled to Ukraine, with Serena, McHale, Huber and Sloane Stephens making up Captain Mary Joe Fernandez’s squad. The U.S. needed three wins to move back into the World Group for 2013—the 50th anniversary of the Fed Cup competition—and earned them with relative ease. Once again, Serena and McHale delivered two wins each over the young Ukrainian team. Serena provided the clinching point on Day 2 with a dominating performance over Lesia Tsurenko to remain undefeated in her Fed Cup career and to once again cement the U.S. team’s place among the elite nations.
 
Click here for photos of the U.S. Fed Cup team in 2012.
 
Olympics:
 
The Americans left the 2012 London Olympics with quite a haul of gold, completing an impressive display for U.S. tennis.
 
Serena Williams won her first career Olympic singles gold medal with a dominating 6-0, 6-1 win over Maria Sharapova in the gold-medal match. She also teamed with Venus to win the gold in women’s doubles—the third women’s doubles gold medal for the Williams sisters—with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.
 
Bob and Mike Bryan won their first career Olympic gold medal in men’s doubles with a 6-4, 7-6 (2) win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra to make it three golds in four events for the U.S.
 
Both Serena and the Bryans completed the Golden Slam with their victories, having now won all four majors and Olympic golds in their careers.
 
Rounding out the medals for the U.S. were Lisa Raymond and Mike Bryan, who won bronze in the inaugural mixed doubles event.
 
In men’s singles, Andy Murray avenged his Wimbledon final loss to Roger Federer with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 victory to claim his first career Olympic gold medal.
 
Click here for photos from the 2012 London Olympics.
 

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