Saturday, February 4, 2017

U.S. leads Swiss subs 2-0 in Davis Cup

John Isner gave the United States a 2-0 lead
over Switzerland in the first round of the
Davis Cup. 2016 photo by Paul Bauman
   What's the marketing campaign for the United States vs. Switzerland in the first round of the Davis Cup in Birmingham, Ala., this weekend?
   "No Federer! No Wawrinka! No Bryan brothers! Hurry while tickets last!"
   Predictably, the United States took a 2-0 lead on Friday in the best-of-five-match competition. One of the few surprises was that John Isner lost a set.
   Jack Sock, ranked No. 20, gave the United States a 1-0 lead with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 victory over No. 146 Marco Chiudinelli. The Swiss veteran saved five set points in the first set.
   No. 23 Isner then defeated No. 127 Henri Laaksonen 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (1). Laaksonen, 24, was born in Finland to a Finnish mother and Swiss father. Henri uses his mother's maiden name.
   The United States can clinch the series with a victory in today's doubles match and advance to the April 7-9 quarterfinals at Australia. Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey, a San Francisco native, will play Adrien Bossel and Antoine Bellier, a 20-year-old left-hander.
   Querrey and Johnson are ranked No. 80 and No. 99, respectively, in doubles. Bellier is No. 545, and Bossel is unranked.
   Johnson and Querrey reached the semifinals of the 2015 U.S. Open, stunning top-seeded Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in the first round.
   Federer, 35, defeated Wawrinka in the Australian Open semifinals en route to the title. They chose to rest after Melbourne. The 38-year-old Bryan twins announced last month that they have retired from Davis Cup competition and this could be their last year on the tour.

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