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U.S. edges Great Britain in opening tie of Davis Cup Finals Group Stage

Pat Mitsch | September 14, 2022


The U.S. and Great Britain properly turned back the clock on Wednesday in Glasgow, even as the clock kept moving forward. 

 

On a day that turned into two days, a Davis Cup rivalry spanning 122 years lived up to its history all the way up until Jack Sock and Rajeev Ram clinched a 2-1 tie victory for the Americans by defeating Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5, minutes before 1 a.m. Thursday in Scotland.

Sock and Ram’s third straight Davis Cup doubles triumph and Tommy Paul’s first live, Davis Cup singles victory put the U.S. tied with the Netherlands atop the Group D standings, critical positioning for the Americans’ chances to advance to the ultimate, knockout-quarterfinal round in Malaga, Spain, in November.

 

The U.S. has to finish in the Top 2 of the four-nation Group D to do that, with ties remaining against Kazakhstan on Thursday and the Netherlands on Saturday. Tennis Channel will televise both ties in the U.S.

 

This format may be new, but it was quintessential Davis Cup on Wednesday in Glasgow: a maximum nine sets of tennis over three long, hard-fought matches, spanning nearly eight hours on court.

It began when Paul defeated Dan Evans, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, in a 2-hour, 30-minute match that proved to be a tactical back-and-forth between Paul’s baseline game and Evans’ frequent advances to the net. The slower court surface allowed Paul and Evans to break each other’s serves a combined nine times (five for Paul, four for Evans), with three consecutive breaks to end the match.

 

First, the American broke to go up, 5-3 in the third set, with an incredible, cross-court forehand pass, then Evans broke back with Paul serving for the match. Paul then converted his third break and match point when an Evans backhand found the net. 

 

The win improves Paul’s Davis Cup singles record to 3-0, though with his previous two victories coming in ‘dead’ matches – during Qualifying ties vs. Uzbekistan in 2020 and Colombia earlier this year, after the ties had already been decided – it marks the 25-year-old’s first live Davis Cup victory. 

 

“It was high-level from the jump,” Paul in his on-court interview. “It was a tough match. Obviously, I didn't have the crowd on my side, but I really played high-level tennis today. I played well and I'm happy to get my first, like, Davis Cup win, really.”

 

The tie’s second singles match also lived up to the level displayed in the first, with the world No. 8 Norrie and the world No. 12 Fritz – each country’s top-ranked player – going deep in a third set before the Brit prevailed in front of the home crowd, 2-6, 7-6(2), 7-5.

Fritz raced to take the first set in just 29 minutes, but Norrie, the former TCU Horned Frog, dug in and grinded to win a tightly contested second and third set to take the match, despite Fritz hitting more aces (14 to 6), winners (24 to 19) and winning seven more points (103 to 96).

 

"It was a great match," said Norrie, who was the No. 1 ranked collegiate singles player during his three-year tenure at TCU (2015-17). “I obviously didn't start off the best.  Taylor played really well.  I don't think I came out too sharp.  He took advantage of that.  I was able to just hang tough in the second set, play a really, really good third set.  I played on my terms.”

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