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Americans trail Brits 0-2 in San Diego, yet remain confident

January 31, 2014 11:12 PM
U.S. Davis Cup stalwart Sam Querrey's serve failed him in the latter stages of a tough five-set defeat on Friday to James Ward of Great Britain.
Donald Young, playing in his first-ever Davis Cup tie for the United States, lost in straight sets to defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.
By Sandra Harwitt, special to USTA.com
 
SAN DIEGO — On the opening day of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first round between the United States and Great Britain at the San Diego Padres’ Petco Park, the home team lost a doubleheader. But this is also a three-day stand, with three matches still to be played, and the U.S. squad remains confident it can pull out a victory this weekend.
 
“It takes three win,” U.S. Davis Cup Captrain Jim Courier said. “We have three matches ahead of us so we obviously understand what we’re up against. We by no means are out of the competition this weekend. We’ll be coming strong tomorrow. And assuming things go well tomorrow, we’ll be ready to rip on Sunday.”
 
The first match of the day was always going to present problems for the Americans. Last-minute fill-in and Davis Cup neophyte Donald Young took the clay court against two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, a match that the favored Scot secured, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3.
 
The second match was supposed to favor American Sam Querrey, ranked 49th to the 175th-ranked James Ward, but strange things happen in Davis Cup competition. Ward ended up surprising Querrey, who had a two-sets-to-one lead and a 4-2 advantage in the fourth set, by taking a 1-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory. Querrey lost his serve five consecutive times from 4-2 in the fourth, losing 10 of the last 11 games of the rubber.
 
Despite the loss, Querrey said he looks forward to bouncing back for the reverse singles on Sunday, when he's slated to face off against Murray. On Saturday, stalwarts Bob and Mike Bryan, the No. 1 doubles team in the world, will attempt to keep the U.S. alive in the doubles match. The Bryans are 20-4 together in Davis Cup play.
 
“You know, I put my head down for two minutes in the locker room and bounced right back up,” said Querrey, who now has a 4-7 win-loss record in Davis Cup singles matches. “I’ll be out there cheering my team on tomorrow. I’ll be 100 percent ready to play some good tennis on Sunday.”
 
Every Davis Cup player is thrilled for their first opportunity to represent their country, but they often find themselves emotionally caught up in the moment. That’s just what happened to the 24-year-old Young, who replaced the injured John Isner and was immediately thrust into the match with Murray.
 
“Everything seemed like it was in hyper speed and going quite fast,” Young said. “All in all, he hasn’t won Slams and been what he’s been without playing well consistently. Obviously he handled the situation better, been there a few more times, or a lot more times. It was tough for me, but I’m happy I got through it and fought hard all the way through the end.”
 
The defending Wimbledon champion needed only one hour and 38 minutes to deliver the opening point of the tie to Great Britain. With the win, Murray’s Davis Cup singles record improved to 17-1. His lone career loss came in 2005 against Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, the current world No. 3 and 2014 Australian Open champion.
 
“I think it’s natural [that] he was rushing a bit,” Murray said of Young, “He was playing quite quick between the points. I saw Jim Courier trying to get him to slow down a bit. … But in the second and third sets there were a lot of close games, especially in the third. So he definitely played better as the match went on, but [was] definitely nervous at the start. It’s his first Davis Cup match, so it’s understandable.”
 
Young’s first Davis Cup experience won’t be a memory he’ll want to hold on to for a long time. But he’s hopeful that if this tie comes down to a decisive fifth rubber, he’ll be able to put the loss behind him to challenge Ward.
 
“I’ll never have this feeling of the first time [again], so I’m excited,” Young said. “I’m looking forward to Sunday if need be. I’m definitely looking forward to playing, and I’ll feel a lot better and more confident about going out there trying to get a win for the team.”
 
The Bryans are slated to play Murray and Colin Fleming in Saturday's doubles match, but Great Britain could substitute Dominic Inglot — like Fleming a Top 35 doubles player — to rest Murray for Sunday.
 
 

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