Monday, February 3, 2014

U.S. woes continue with early Davis Cup loss

Andy Murray beat Sam Querrey in four sets to give Great Britain
a 3-1 victory over the United States. 2012 photo by Paul Bauman
   The U.S. men endured their worst year ever in 2013.
   This year isn't starting out so hot, either.
   Andy Murray defeated Sam Querrey 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-3 Sunday on clay in San Diego to give Great Britain a 3-1 victory over the United States in the first round of the Davis Cup.
   The meaningless fifth match between Donald Young of the U.S. and James Ward wasn't played.
   Great Britain advanced to the World Group quarterfinals for the first time since 1986. The Britons  will visit Italy, which won at Argentina, in April.
   The United States, meanwhile, will be relegated to the World Group playoffs in September and must beat a team to be determined to stay in the elite 16-team bracket in 2015.
   America lost to Great Britain for the first time since 1935 and at home for the first time since 1903.
   Asked to put the dubious distinctions in perspective, U.S. captain Jim Courier told reporters: "It feels great to be alive in 2014. We certainly don't feel a lot of kinship to the last team that lost to the Brits on American soil since they've been dead a long time. It has nothing to do with us. We come to play on our own terms."
   Also this year, no U.S. man reached the fourth round of the Australian Open.
   It hasn't helped that the top American, 13th-ranked John Isner, retired in the first round of the Australian Open with an ankle injury and withdrew from the Davis Cup for the same reason.
   The United States still was favored at home against Great Britain. But Querrey's 1-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 loss to 175th-ranked James Ward in Friday's second singles match proved fatal.
   Querrey, a 26-year-old San Francisco native and Sacramento Capitals veteran in World TeamTennis, came within two games of winning at 4-2 in the fourth set but lost 10 of the last 11 games.
   Murray, who also beat Young in Friday's opener, improved to 18-1 in Davis Cup singles with an 18-match winning streak. The two-time Grand Slam singles champion, who last year ended a 77-year title drought at Wimbledon for British men, underwent back surgery five months ago.
   "I'm proud of the way I'm playing just now, because I had to do a lot of work to get back to where I want to be," Murray said. "I'm still not quite there yet."
   The United States has won a record 32 Davis Cup titles but only one in the last 19 years. The Americans beat Russia 4-1 in the 2007 final in Portland, Ore.
   No. 24 Arizona State def. San Jose State 6-1 in Tempe, Ariz. No. 1 singles: Stephanie Vlad (ASU) def. Marie Klocker 6-4, 6-1. Team records: Arizona State 6-1, San Jose State 2-5. Note: Arizona State freshman Kassidy Jump of Granite Bay in the Sacramento area won at No. 5 singles and No. 2 doubles.
   No. 37 Saint Mary's def. No. 55 Fresno State 4-0 in Stockton. No. 1 singles: No. 7 Jenny Jullien def. No. 104 Sophie Watts 6-2, 6-0. Clinching match: At No. 3, Jamie Pawid def. Aishwarya Agrawal 6-2, 2-6 [10-3]. Team records: Saint Mary's 2-1, Fresno State 1-3.
   Arizona def. USF 6-1 in Tucson, Ariz. No. 1 singles: Thyra Taune (USF) def. Lacey Smyth 6-4, 6-4. Clinching match: At No. 2, Kim Stubbe def. Andrea Ka 6-3, 7-5. Team records: Arizona 3-0, USF 4-2.
   UC Davis def. UC San Diego 6-1 in La Jolla, Calif. No. 1 singles: Megan Heneghan (UCD) def. Kyra Scott 6-1, 6-1. Clinching match: At No. 4, Tiffany Pham def. Nava Nowamooz 6-2, 6-4. Team records: UC Davis 2-2, UC San Diego 1-1.
   Loyola Marymount def. UC Davis 4-2 in Gold River, Calif. No. 1 singles: Kyle Miller (UCD) def. David Doehring 6-4, 6-3. Clinching match: At No. 5, Todd Volmari def. Parker Kelley 6-2, 6-5 (tiebreaker score not available). Team records: Loyola Marymount 2-0, UC Davis 0-4. Note: The match was moved indoors because of rain.

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