USA vs. Brazil Day 1 Davis Cup preview

The United States’ top two singles players, John Isner and Sam Querrey, are ready for first-round Davis Cup action. Querrey will kick off the tie against Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci, followed by Isner vs. Thiago Alves.

Sam Querrey and Thomaz Bellucci will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers when they open the first-round Davis Cup tie between the United States and Brazil on Friday in Jacksonville, Florida.

Querrey has never played a tie at home in the United States, so his 1-5 lifetime record is somewhat misleading. All six of his matches have come on clay, and he is 0-4 lifetime in live rubbers. This will be a welcomed change for the 6’6” American, who reached the third round of the Australian Open before losing to Stanislas Wawrinka.

Bellucci, on the other hand, has an overall Davis Cup record of 14-7 (13-7 in singles). Of course, that mark has come against much weaker competition and almost all of his rubbers have been played in Brazil. The world No. 36 is off to a slow start in 2013. He fell in the Auckland second round earlier this week then got blown out by Blaz Kavcic in his Melbourne opener 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.

Aside from his cup history, Querrey has just about everything in his corner for this one. Indoor hard courts suit his game, his opponent is not in top form, and the crowd will be energized for the first rubber–one that Brazil has a realistic chance of winning and one that it absolutely has to win. It’s hard to imagine Querrey losing this one unless he has a truly disastrous serving day.

Isner may be the United States’ top-ranked player, but he was a last-minute decision for this tie. That’s because a recent knee injury hobbled Isner in Sydney and kept him out of the Australian Open.

Alas, the 16th-ranked American deemed himself ready for action after several practices throughout the week. He will look to get his back in shape and record a victory for the first time this season (he lost his Sydney opener to countryman Ryan Harrison). Isner has won a mere four matches since Winston-Salem last summer and just two since the U.S. Open.

Alves could be just what the doctor ordered for Isner as the big man hopes to get on track in 2013. The 30-year-old journeyman has won only eight ATP-level matches in his career and he registers at No. 141 in the world rankings. Alves has appeared in just a single Davis Cup rubber for Brazil, back in 2008 against Croatia. He lost both of his rubbers (one of which was live, against Ivo Karlovic).

Although Isner may not be in great form, he often wakes up with a bang in team competition. Last season, the former world No. 9 upset Roger Federer in Switzerland then cruised past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon in France. All five of Isner’s losses have come on clay, three in five sets and the other two in four.

Playing at home, Isner will be inspired to put on another good show for the United States. Unless he is far less than 100 percent, Isner should overpower Alves on an indoor hard court in straight sets.

Picks: Querrey in 3, Isner in 3

1 Comment on USA vs. Brazil Day 1 Davis Cup preview

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