Novak Djokovic addresses the media.
By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia beat John Isner of the U.S. in straight sets Friday afternoon at Taco Bell Arena in the first match of the Davis Cup tie. The score was 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 7-5.
But top American Sam Querrey came back with a gutsy, five-set win to even the tie at 1-1. Querrey won 7-6 (7-1), 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. It took 3 hours, 19 minutes.
Querrey won the first set 7-6, including 7-1 in the tiebreaker. He started the second set with a break but gave it right back in the next game and lost the set 6-3.
Troicki broke Querrey in the fifth game of the third set and made it hold up for a 6-4 win to take a 2-1 lead to the fourth set. Querrey has been very error-prone in the match.
Querrey bounced back with a strong performance in the fourth set, winning 6-1. Querrey broke in a three-deuce second game and again in the sixth game. He served out the set at love with two aces and a service winner.
Troicki was receiving treatment on his legs before the fifth set began.
The fifth set was tense throughout. Querrey survived a 15-40 game on his serve, already down 2-1. The game went to five deuces before he pulled it out.
After that, Querrey was the one applying the pressure. He got a break to take a 5-4 lead and served out the match at love.
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Isner took an early lead in the first set by breaking Djokovic in the third game. Djokovic broke back in the sixth game.
Djokovic won the set in a tiebreaker, 7-5. Isner missed with his forehand on his first service point to fall behind 2-0. The server won the rest of the points.
Djokovic dominated the second set and won 6-2. He took the last eight points, six by winner.
Djokovic won the third set 7-5. He broke Isner at 5-5 to set up the victory.
Djokovic only committed 10 unforced errors in the match to give Serbia a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five tie.
“This was a great start for Serbia,” he said on the court. “There is a lot more at stake (in Davis Cup).”
Djokovic was particularly effective in the second set, when Isner struggled to beat him with his powerful serve. Isner had eight aces in the first and third sets but only one in the second set.
“I executed perfectly,” Djokovic said. “… I had to be patient and wait for my chances.”
Some key stats:
— Isner committed 37 unforced errors (Djokovic 10), which more than offset his serving advantage. Isner recorded 17 aces and 46 unreturned serves. Djokovic recorded five aces and 37 unreturned serves.
— Isner, at 6-foot-10, likes to come to the net. But he was ineffective there. He won 13 of 31 points at the net (42 percent). Djokovic was 13-of-15 (87 percent).
— Djokovic recorded 24 winners. Isner topped him with 31.
Some quotes from the players:
Djokovic: “It was very important to get a set advantage. These kind of matches, where it’s very intense and there’s a lot at stake — you play for your country and emotionally you’re more involved — you really want to start well. You want to bring the first point to Serbia. So I was a little bit nervous at the start and being I guess too cautious in my play.”
Djokovic: “In this kind of match it’s important to stay in the moment and believe in your abilities and your return game. My return has been serving me quite well on tour the last few years. I knew he won’t be able to serve three, four aces a game every game. I just waited for my chances. When they presented, I used them and used them very well.”
Isner: “After the first set he became a lot more comfortable from what it looked like to me. He started playing really well in the second set. … I think the mistake on my part was I got off to a good start. I had to do my best to hold onto that little lead that I had and I let him back in it. … That was critical because I think he became a lot more comfortable at that point.”
Inside Saturday’s matchup
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan (U.S.) vs. Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki (Serbia), 1 p.m.
Note: Serbia has not committed to a partner for Zimonjic and has until an hour before the match. Troicki is considered the most likely.
Rankings: The Bryans are co-No. 1s in doubles, Zimonjic is No. 22, Troicki is No. 117
This season: The Bryans are 20-3 (won Australian Open); Zimonjic is 11-6; Troicki is 1-5
Career doubles titles: The Bryans have 86 (record 13 majors), Zimonjic has 47 (three majors), Troicki has one
Davis Cup records: The Bryans are 20-3 as a doubles team; Zimonjic is 26-11; Troicki is 4-1
Head-to-head notes: In the only previous U.S.-Serbia tie, Bob Bryan and John Isner (Mike was sick) beat Zimonjic and Janko Tipsarevic.
The skinny: The Bryans and Zimonjic, a former doubles No. 1, have been dueling throughout their careers, so strategic adjustments could play a role. Expect inspired tennis from the Bryans, who are coming off a rare Davis Cup loss in February.
Quotable: “Playing Bob and Mike, it’s definitely the biggest challenge that I will have in my Davis Cup career. It’s going to be difficult. Even though they are favorites, I think we still have a chance in that match.” — Zimonjic