2018 Year in Review:
Davis Cup semifinal run
Arthur Kapetanakis | December 13, 2018
As 2018 draws to a close, USTA.com is taking a look back at the Top 15 storylines, headlines and highlights from the year in American tennis. Now up, we look at the U.S. Davis Cup team's best run since 2012.
Team USA enjoyed its best Davis Cup campaign in six years, defeating Serbia and Belgium on the way to the nation’s first semifinal appearance since 2012. Though the run came to an end in Zadar, Croatia, against the tournament’s eventual winners, the 32-time champions were one set away from a trip to the final, as they nearly overcame a 2-0 deficit in that semifinal tie.
Debutant Frances Tiafoe stood out as a major highlight in his own right, cementing a place in America’s Davis Cup future with a gutsy display in the decisive fifth rubber against Croatia. Playing in his first career tie, and just his second match representing the U.S., the 20-year-old battled Borna Coric and the Croatian crowd to take a two-sets-to-one lead and put his team on the brink of the final. ADVERTISEMENT Though he could not finish the job this time, Tiafoe is sure to have many more chances to deliver for Team USA in the future.
Sam Querrey, who defeated Marin Cilic in the fourth semifinal rubber in September, also opened Team USA’s 2018 campaign in February with a four-set victory against Serbia. That result was followed by a five-set marathon win from John Isner, which ended, 7-6, in the fifth, before Ryan Harrison and Steve Johnson wrapped up the tie with the doubles point.
Against Belgium in April, Isner and Querrey again notched Day 1 singles wins to put the U.S. in command. On Day 2, Ryan Harrison and Jack Sock sealed the victory with a doubles win, before Harrison completed the sweep in a dead fourth rubber.
With stalwarts Isner and Sock unavailable for the semifinal tie, Tiafoe stepped in and nearly marked his debut by capping a historic comeback. After he and Johnson dropped the opening two singles matches against Croatia, Ryan Harrison and Mike Bryan (who came out of Davis Cup retirement to fill in for Sock) won an epic five-setter to keep U.S. hopes alive. After Querrey chopped down Cilic, Tiafoe fell just short, as the partisan crowd carried Coric to victory.
Following the defeat, Jim Courier announced he was stepping down as U.S. captain after a successful eight years in the role.
For more American tennis highlights from 2018, be sure to check out our Year in Review page here.