U.S. TRAILS AUSSIES ON DAY 1
OF DAVIS CUP
Pat Mitsch | April 7, 2017
Inspired Davis Cup performances by Jordan Thompson and Nick Kyrgios gave the Aussies an advantageous 2-0 quarterfinal lead over the U.S. after Friday’s singles matches at Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane.
The 79th-ranked Thompson defeated world No. 15 Jack Sock, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4, in the day’s first singles match pitting the U.S. No. 1 vs. the Aussie No. 2, then the 16th-ranked Kyrgios defeated No. 23 John Isner, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6, in front of 5,780 partisan fans.
The U.S. has only come back from 0-2 down once in 41 tries, oddly enough against Australia, albeit in the 1934 Inter-Zonal Final in London. On the opposite side, in last year’s World Group quarterfinal in Beaverton, Ore., Croatia came from 0-2 down to defeat the U.S.
“We’ve been here before. We’ve been up, 2-0, and ended up losing, and we’ve rallied, so we know that it takes three,” said U.S. ADVERTISEMENT captain Jim Courier. “Tomorrow’s a new day. We’re certainly not happy with the score by any means, but we’re professionals and we’ll be ready to play come tomorrow.”
On Saturday afternoon in Brisbane (11 p.m. ET Friday), Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson will look to keep Team USA in the tie when they face John Peers and Sam Groth in a must-win doubles match. Courier can change the pairing up to one hour before the match. Should the U.S. send the contest to the third day, Sock would play Kyrgios in a battle of each country's top players on Sunday, followed by Isner against Thompson.
The U.S. won't be looking too far ahead, however, especially since the first day of play belonged to the hosts, who capitalized on their chances and kept miscues to a minimum.
Though Sock hit 35 winners compared to Thompson’s 17, the 79th-ranked Aussie won four of his six break point chances – Sock was 3 for 8 – and only committed 44 unforced errors compared to Sock’s 66.
“He served well, made a lot of balls,” Sock said. “He played a good match. He deserved to win.”
Thompson, who said his plan was to try to neutralize Sock’s “great forehand and good serve,” continued his good fortune at Pat Rafter Arena, where he defeated David Ferrer in a run to the Brisbane International quarterfinals in January, and in Davis Cup competition: he’s 3-0 in singles this year.
“That’s a 100 percent record,” Thompson said. “I’ll take that any day.”
Kyrgios, meanwhile, absorbed a quick, 3-0 start by the American No. 2 and used superb returning to outlast the 6-foot-10 Isner in a third-set tiebreak.
“I felt like I played well enough to have beaten a lot of people out there today, but not Nick,” Isner said. “He played pretty well, and he came up clutch at the end and he certainly deserved to win. Those two returns at 5-4, and 5-all (in the tiebreak) were pretty high quality, and he did it. It was good playing.”