After a dismal showing at the Australian Open, American tennis picked itself up off the mat with a Davis Cup win over Serbia.
It can be hard to read much significance into the Davis Cup sometimes. Once a testament to which countries were producing the best pro tennis players in the world, the ties these days often don't feature the top stars.
Sam Querrey starts with a win over Serbia! ????????— USTA (@usta) February 2, 2018
He scores a hard-fought 6-7, 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Djere to give #TeamUSATennis a 1-0 lead in this World Group R1 @DavisCup tie!
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Last weekend, Serbia was without a single player inside the Top 50, while the U.S. lacked Jack Sock and Bob and Mike Bryan. It was up to Sam Querry and John Isner—both inside the Top 20.
Querrey and Isner are certainly expected to beat Laslo Djere and Dusan Lajovic, respectively, on any given day of the week. But, as is often the case for the away team in a high-pressure Davis Cup tie, it was much more complicated.
What a win for @JohnIsner! ????????— USTA (@usta) February 2, 2018
He prevails in an epic 6-4, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 battle over Lajovic to put #TeamUSATennis up 2-0 against Serbia in this R1 @DavisCup tie!
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Querry had to rally from a set down to overcome Djere. Isner needed a fifth-set tiebreak to send the U.S. up 2-0 nothing over Serbia. All this transpired on a slow clay court in Nis, Serbia, no less—certainly not the preferred conditions for big servers like Isner and Querry.
In hostile territory, on its team’s worst surface, playing against competition that could easily be underestimated, the U.S. could have made advancing hard on themselves. Instead, Isner and Querry embraced the grind. Then it was up to Ryan Harrison and Steve Johnson to clinch the victory.
Clinched! @SJohnson_89 and @ryanharrison92 rally from a set down to give #TeamUSATennis the win over Serbia in their R1 @DavisCup clash! ????????????????????https://t.co/G3uV0SKmef… pic.twitter.com/pJvm1GqbnJ— USTA (@usta) February 3, 2018
If American men’s tennis is searching for a motto and identity, one both the fans and the players can rally around, embracing the grind is it.