Great Britain will host the United States in Davis Cup this weekend. It is the second year in a row these teams will face off in the first round of the World Group with the Americans looking for retribution.
Last year Great Britain was able to beat a short-handed U.S. squad on clay in San Diego. The Americans were without top ranked American John Isner last year due to injury who was the major reason they decided to hold the tie on outdoor clay. Without Isner the choice of clay turned out to be a poor one for the Americans.
Great Britain vs United States Davis Cup Preview
The Brits decided to hold this year’s Davis Cup tie on indoor hard court in Glasgow given the success of Andy Murray on fast hard courts. It will be the 20th time these two Davis Cup teams have met. They played in the first ever Davis Cup tie back in 1900. The US leads the head-to-head 11-8. It will be the first home World Group contest for Great Britain since 1999
The key for the Americans is not to surrender a loss to James Ward. Last year Sam Querrey lost in five sets to Ward which arguably is what cost the United States the tie. If Isner and Young are able to both beat Ward it should put the Americans in good position to win. Young did not play against Ward in last year’s tie because the tie had already been decided. Young has been having a very successful 2015, showing why people were so high on him when he was a junior. If Young is able to keep his head he should be able to get passed Ward but anything is possible especially in five set matches.
Isner played very poorly in his last match against Marinko Matosevic in Delray Beach, losing 6-4 6-4. He is still lacking a return game and his serve has not looked as dominate this year. Nevertheless the big man should like the fact that the match is on indoor hard court as that plays directly in to his preferred style of game. Isner has shown moments of brilliance in his career but his inconsistency is enough to worry most American tennis fans going in to this match. On paper he should be able to beat Ward in straight sets but Isner has a history of making matches more complicated than they need to be. There is also considerably more pressure on Isner to break serve, as he hasn’t been winning in tiebreakers.
They keys for Great Britain is the mental strength of Andy Murray and getting off to a fast start. Murray had a great run to the Australian Open finals but has had a puzzling last result since. He fell in straight set loss to Gilles Simon in Rotterdam and lost in Dubai to World No. 61 Borna Coric 6-1 6-3. Murray’s mental game has always been one of his biggest issues and is known for his negative body language on the court. Murray like Isner is going to worry some fans but the fact that he will have the home crowd behind him should good him a boost. Murray cannot afford to drop either singles match if he wants Great Britain to advance for a second year in a row.
The 2-0 lead that the Brits built after the first day last year really put the pressure on the Americans and that is exactly what they will need to do again in order to secure a win. However Ward has not been playing as well lately as he did last year in Davis Cup. His best win of 2015 was in the Dubai qualifying against Marius Copi who is No. 165 in the world. The home crowd will look to give him that spark he will need to have a chance at upsetting Isner.
All eyes could be on the pivotal doubles match between the Bryans Brothers and Murray brothers especially if the teams split the first two singles matches. There has never been a match where two brothers face off against each other in the current Davis Cup format. The Murray brothers pairing up is going to bring a lot of excitement to Glasgow, which could set up a tough atmosphere for the Bryan Brothers. Jamie Murray has been playing some outstanding doubles so even though the Americans might be favored in the doubles, it is going to be a uphill battle.
This is a tie that could very well end up being decided by Ward and Young in the fifth rubber. The US Davis Cup team and their fans would love to get revenge for the heartbreaking loss last yeast while Great Britain would like to continue their success against the Americans. Regardless it should be another entertaining tie between the Brits and Americans that could come down to the last rubber.
Friday 8 a.m. EST:
Rubber 1: John Isner (USA) vs. James Ward (GBR)
Rubber 2: Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Donald Young (USA)
Saturday 8 a.m. EST:
Rubber 3: Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA) vs. Andy Murray/Jamie Murray (GBR)
Sunday 8 a.m. EST:
Rubber 4: John Isner (USA) vs. Andy Murray (GBR)
Rubber 5: James Ward (GBR) vs. Donald Young (USA)
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