Querrey, Isner give United States 2-0 Davis Cup lead over Serbia

The United States will take Davis Cup wins any way it can get them during a decade-long drought without a title. It will certainly take two wins on the same day.

Team USA got two wins on Friday and did it the hard way, battling past an undermanned but tough Serbian squad in a pair of singles rubbers. Sam Querrey kicked off the first-round tie in Nis, Serbia by beating Laslo Djere, 6-7(4), 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 before Isner outlasted Dusan Lajovic, 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(4).

Djere, a 22-year-old who once won the junior boys Orange Bowl, came out firing as an underdog with nothing to lose against the 12th-ranked Querrey. After dropping the opening set, however, the 6’6” American restored order and powered his way to victory on the heels of 40 winners–including 20 aces.

“I expected a tough match,” Querrey commented. “Davis Cups are always tricky. If you just look around at the other scores from the other ties today, there’s some close ones, with some guys where there was some ranking discrepancies, so Davis Cups are different. I came out as a little nervous, but once I got a break in the second set I settled in a little bit. It was a battle until the end, there. He had some looks at love-30 twice in the fourth and I was fortunate enough to serve those out. It just feels good to get through it.”

Isner improved to 4-1 lifetime against Lajovic following the day’s second rubber, but as usual it was not easy. Now nine of their 16 total sets against each other have progressed to tiebreakers, including two on Friday. Isner came out on the short end of a dramatic second-set ‘breaker in this one, but he did not make the same mistake again a little more than an hour later. With the Davis Cup competition no longer playing out fifth sets, another tiebreaker had decide the afternoon’s second rubber. Lajovic battled back from an early mini-break, but two straight return points for Isner at 5-4 and 6-4 ended things in style.

“For me, personally, I knew the match was going to be tough,” the world No. 18 reflected. “I didn’t come into this tie playing great tennis. It’s been awhile since I was playing really good tennis; it was at the beginning of November last year, in Paris. Didn’t play too well in Australia. You don’t just go out and play lights out; you play well from a culmination of winning matches, and winning matches like [this one]. For me, personally, that’s exactly what I needed. I needed to play a match like that, get my legs fit, and my body needs to be sore. That’s what I needed. More importantly than that, I’m happy I was able to contribute to the USA being up 2-0. Sam did his job; I barely did my job, but we’re up 2-0.”

“Long and successful is how I would sum it up, in the briefest of sentences,” captain Jim Courier said of Friday’s proceedings. “It was a grind. The matches were both highly competitive. There were some pivotal moments in the matches–John’s match, in particular, came pretty late. But it’s a satisfying feeling. We’ve been on the other side of days like today, so to be up 2-0 is a tremendous feeling and we’re very proud of these guys’ efforts.”

Team USA, which last lifted the trophy in 2007 and has advanced to the semifinals only once since 2008 (and not since 2012), is likely going with Ryan Harrison and Steve Johnson in doubles on Saturday. Harrison won the 2017 French Open with Michael Venus, while Johnson was a bronze medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Top five Davis Cup shots on Friday:

5 Comments on Querrey, Isner give United States 2-0 Davis Cup lead over Serbia

  1. Great summary, and both matches were tough…”grinds”….and nice 5th set by the Big Dawg. Harrison & Johnson should get the job done in doubs!

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