Davis Cup Preview:
USA vs. Uzbekistan
Pat Mitsch | March 6, 2020
The chances at a 33rd Davis Cup title for the United States this weekend are in the hands of two rising stars and two doubles legends. The chances for Uzbekistan’s first rely on tour veteran Denis Istomin and upstart Sanjar Fayziev.
Reilly Opelka will play Istomin first on Friday night to start this Davis Cup by Rakuten Qualifying tie at the Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, followed by Taylor Fritz versus Sanjar Fayziev. Opelka and Fritz, both 22, made their Davis Cup debuts at last November’s Madrid Finals and come into the 2020 campaign in form. Fritz reached the final at Acapulco last week to rise to a career-high No. 24 in the rankings, while Opelka, ranked No. 38, won his second career ATP singles title two weeks ago at Delray Beach, Fla.
Istomin, currently ranked No. 156, is eight years removed from his career-high ranking of No. ADVERTISEMENT 33, which he reached in 2012. The top-ranked Uzbek comes to Honolulu after reaching the singles final at a Challenger-level event last week in Columbus, Ohio, where he fell to 163rd-ranked American JJ Wolf in the title match. Nonetheless, Istomin has reached the Round of 16 at three of the four Grand Slams, most recently and most notably at the 2017 Australian Open, where he upset Novak Djokovic in the second round. Fayziev, 25, is currently ranked No. 498 and reached his career-high of No. 253 in 2017.
Istomin and Fayziev are also charged with taking on Bob and Mike Bryan in Saturday’s doubles. The Bryans, who have won 16 Grand Slam titles, 119 ATP tournament titles and more than 1,100 match wins together, are playing in their last Davis Cup competition. They plan on retiring following the 2020 US Open, ending a 25-year pro career that includes a Davis Cup title in 2007. They come into the competition after winning their 119th ATP doubles title in Delray Beach two weeks ago.
Matches will be played indoors at the Blaisdell Center on a temporary hard court. The winner of this matchup advances to the 2020 Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals in November in Madrid to compete for the world championship. This will be the second year of this new format for the Finals—similar to the World Cup, in which 18 nations converge on one venue to compete for the title.
The qualifying competition versus Uzbekistan is a best-of-five match series played over two days. Saturday’s schedule could be amended should either team clinch victory in the third of fourth match.
This weekend’s matches can be seen live on CBSSports.com and on the CBS Sports App, with Day 1 action starting at 10 p.m. EST on March 6 and Day 2 getting started at 6 p.m. EST on March 7.
Fans that miss the action live can also watch Day 1 action on CBS Sports Network on Saturday, March 7, at 1 a.m. EST or Sunday, March 8, at 7 a.m. EST, and Day 2 action on Thursday, March 12 at 9 p.m. EST.