Davis Cup Birmingham. Day Two

Steve Johnson and Jack Sock clinch the win for Team USA

Last August, they won Olympic Bronze in Rio. On Saturday in Birmingham, Steve Johnson and Jack Sock teamed to clinch the weekend’s Davis Cup World Group 1st-Round Tie for Team USA. Come April, they’ll be heading back to Australia to face the Aussies in the Davis Cup Quarterfinals.
 

Steve Johnson and Jack Sock earn the win: 7-6(3), 6-3, 7-6(5)

Swiss southpaw Adrien Bossel and teammate Henri Laaksonen came out firing on Saturday. Both protected serve and matched the Bronze medalists volley for volley in set-1. Bossel and Laaksonen were clutch for Team Switzerland last September in the World Group Playoffs. They joined to give the Swiss a 2-1 lead over Uzbekistan, then Antoine Bellier delivered the win for Switzerland in the deciding rubber. This was not a “gimme” for Steve and Jack.

Originally, Steve was to team with Sam Querrey; Adrien with Antoine Bellier. Mid-morning Saturday, Coach Jim Courier made the first substitution, replacing Querrey with Sock. About an hour before the match, Coach Severin Luthi made his adjustment for the Swiss…hoping to reignite the spark Bossel and Laaksonen kindled on clay in Tashkent. By all appearances in the first set, it was a brilliant move.

Then the tie-break happened. The Swiss earned an early mini-break as Jack missed an open volley. Sock then rocketed a backhand winner to earn back the break, and Bossel missed a volley of his own. Jack protected Team USA’s lead on serve, while Steve unleashed a forehand winner up the line to give the Americans a 6-3 lead. He then earned the set on his serve.

The start of set-2 was a mess. Jack fell behind 0-40 with a center-line foot fault. Remarkably, he and Steve erased all three break points, won the game, and found themselves ahead 3-0 at the first sit-down. They’d take the set 6-3.

The Swiss struck first in the third. Adrien and Henri broke Steve early, and found themselves up 4-1 at the second changeover. The pressure on, up 5-3, Bossel simply couldn’t serve out the set. With clutch acrobatics, Sock and Johnson erased two set points and won a grueling deuce battle to get back on serve. In the tie-break, both teams held through 6-5 Team USA; Laaksonen serving to keep Switzerland in the Tie. Then Bossel missed a volley at the net, handing Jack and Steve the victory; sending the Americans to the 2017 Davis Cup Quarterfinals in Australia. It was a hell of a turn-around for the Olympic Bronze medalists in the third.
 

Super Bowl Sunday: Two Dead Rubbers

Sunday’s rubbers will be the best 2-out-of-3 set matches. Scheduled to play are Jack Sock vs. Henri Laaksonen and John Isner vs. Marco Chiudinelli. Don’t be surprised if the line-up changes on either side.

No doubt Sam Querrey would like to see some match-competition this weekend, not to mention Steve Johnson would surely appreciate an opportunity to earn his first Davis Cup singles win on home soil.

For the Swiss, Antoine Bellier could use some competition to restoke the fire he sparked by winning the deciding rubber over Uzbekistan last September.

Oddly enough, Steve Johnson’s only previous Davis Cup singles rubber was a loss to Denis Istomin in Tashkent in September of 2015.
 

History: The United States vs. Australia

On April 7th through the 9th, Team USA will travel to Australia for the Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinals. It’s a rivalry that carries a storied history. Both nations are soaked in the roots of the competition itself. While Davis Cup began in 1900 featuring teams from the United States and Great Britain, by 1905 it was expanded to include teams from France, Belgium, Austria and a combination of players from Australia and New Zealand.

Team USA lost to the “Australasians” in the first five Davis Cup Finals they contended between 1907 and 1914. While the United States has a 26-20 winning record over Australia, when it comes to Davis Cup Finals, Team Australia still holds the edge, winning 16 of their 30 Davis Cup Final match-ups.

* USA victory in Davis Cup Final (14)
** AUS victory in Davis Cup Final (16)

 

Davis Cup Ties featuring the U.S. and Australia

2017 Host AUS – ____ def. ___ ___ – World Group Quarterfinal
2016 Host AUS – USA def. AUS 3-1 – World Group 1st Round
1999 Host USA – AUS def. USA 4-1 – World Group Quarterfinal
1997 Host USA – USA def. AUS 4-1 – World Group Semifinal
1993 Host AUS – AUS def. USA 4-1 – World Group 1st Round
1990 Host USA – USA def. AUS 3-2 – World Group Final *
1986 Host AUS – AUS def. USA 3-1 – World Group Semifinal
1984 Host USA – USA def. AUS 4-1 – World Group Semifinal
1982 Host AUS – USA def. AUS 5-0 – World Group Semifinal
1981 Host USA – USA def. AUS 5-0 – World Group Semifinal
1979 Host AUS – USA def. AUS 4-1 – INZ 1st Round
1973 Host USA – AUS def. USA 5-0 – World Group Final **
1968 Host AUS – USA def. AUS 4-1 – World Group Final *
1964 Host USA – AUS def. USA 3-2 – World Group Final **
1963 Host AUS – USA def. AUS 3-2 – World Group Final *
1959 Host USA – AUS def. USA 3-2 – World Group Final **
1958 Host AUS – USA def. AUS 3-2 – World Group Final *
1957 Host AUS – AUS def. USA 3-2 – World Group Final **
1956 Host AUS – AUS def. USA 5-0 – World Group Final **
1955 Host USA – AUS def. USA 5-0 – World Group Final **
1954 Host AUS – USA def. AUS 3-2 – World Group Final *
1953 Host AUS – AUS def. USA 3-2 – World Group Final **
1952 Host AUS – AUS def. USA 4-1 – World Group Final **
1951 Host AUS – AUS def. USA 3-2 – World Group Final **
1950 Host USA – AUS def. USA 4-1 – World Group Final **
1949 Host USA – USA def. AUS 4-1 – World Group Final *
1948 Host USA – USA def. AUS 5-0 – World Group Final *
1947 Host USA – USA def. AUS 4-1 – World Group Final *
1946 Host AUS – USA def. AUS 5-0 – World Group Final *
1939 Host USA – AUS def. USA 3-2 – World Group Final **
1938 Host USA – USA def. AUS 3-2 – World Group Final *
1937 Host USA – USA def. AUS 5-0 – AME Final
1936 Host USA – AUS def. USA 3-2 – AME Final
1934 Host GBR – USA def. AUS 3-2 – INZ Final
1932 Host USA – USA def. AUS 5-0 – NAM Final
1924 Host USA – USA def. AUS 5-0 – World Group Final *
1923 Host USA – USA def. AUS 4-1 – World Group Final *
1922 Host USA – USA def. ANZ 4-1 – World Group Final *
1920 Host NZL – USA def. ANZ 5-0 – World Group Final *
1914 Host USA – ANZ def. USA 3-2 – World Group Final **
1913 Host USA – USA def. ANZ 4-1 – World Group 1st-Round
1911 Host NZL – ANZ def. USA 5-0 – World Group Final **
1909 Host AUS – ANZ def. USA 5-0 – World Group Final **
1908 Host AUS – ANZ def. USA 3-2 – World Group Final **
1907 Host GBR – ANZ def. USA 3-2 – World Group Final **
1906 Host GBR – USA def. ANZ 3-2 – Final Competition
1905 Host GBR – USA def. ANZ 5-0 – Final Competition