US has 2-0 lead over Brazil
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — John Isner and Sam Querrey each won their matches on Friday to give the United States a 2-0 lead over Brazil in the first round of the Davis Cup.
Isner earned a straight-set win over Brazil's Thiago Alves 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Isner's win came two hours after Querrey earned a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Thomaz Bellucci.
The United States is one win away from advancing. Bob and Mike Bryan, the world's No. 1 ranked doubles team, will take on Brazil's Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares on Saturday, followed by Sunday's reverse singles.
Taking 2-0 leads in other first-round series were: Serbia (over Belgium), France (over Israel), Kazakhstan (over Austria) and Argentina (over Germany). Tied 1-1 were Switzerland-Czech Republic and Croatia-Italy. The other series is Canada vs. Spain.
Novak Djokovic swept past Oliver Rochus 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in Serbia's second victory in Charleroi, Belgium. Djokovic was coming off his third straight Australian Open title. Despite the switch from hard courts to slow, indoor clay, the world's No. 1 player dismissed the 127th-ranked Rochus. Djokovic had complained about the court being wet and dangerous.
Isner had to overcome a four-week layoff from competitive tennis in winning his match, his seventh Davis Cup competition but the first on American courts. It was Isner's big serve that carried him past the quicker Alves.
Isner finished with 32 aces and had 29 other serves that Alves could not return.
"I always rely on my serve. I wouldn't have such a pretty good ranking if it wasn't for my serve," Isner said. "Going in every match I have to rely on my serve heavily. I wasn't as sharp in other facets of my game. I knew I was going to have to rely on my serve a lot and I did.
"Maybe it wasn't the prettiest, but I'm happy to get through. I littered up the stat sheet for sure. I know I had a lot of aces, but I had a lot of souvenirs into the crowd as well on my forehand."
Isner had a bone bruise on his right knee a month ago at the Hopman Cup in Australia and hadn't played a competitive match since pulling out of his first-round match at the APIA International Sydney in early January.
The lengthy layoff caused some erratic shots, but Isner said the knee was not a concern during the match.