BOISE, IDAHO, USA: It’s all square in the potato capital of the United States. Serbia looked as if it was going to be very much in the driver’s seat in the quarterfinal tie of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas against USA but at the end of the first day in Boise, Idaho, the series is locked at 1-1.
Novak Djokovic, who rallied back from a break down in the first set, got things off to a flying start for the visitors when he defeated John Isner 76 62 75 in exactly two hours. Then Sam Querrey, the new American No. 1 staged a terrific comeback against Viktor Troicki who was leading two sets to one. Querrey maintained his composure to score a 76 36 46 61 64 in three hours 20 minutes, closing it out with a love game.
“These kinds of matches are very intense and there is a lot at stake,” said Djokovic. “You’re playing for your country. You get more involved with the emotions and you really want to start well; you want to bring the first point to Serbia.
“I was a little nervous at the start being I guess too cautious in my play and not really taking the ball. That resulted in being a break down. (But) from that point on, I was really trying to just stay mentally composed and not get carried away. It worked well. I served really well after that and got the crucial break. After that it was a great performance.”
Djokovic made it clear that he had to remain patient on Isner’s service games. Boise has an altitude of about 830metres and as a result the ball tends to move faster through the air. That combined with Isner’s already wicked serve made it even tougher. Djokovic said he tried to use the “efficiency and better percentage” of his own first serves to counteract Isner. That helped with confidence on his already excellent return game.
“It’s important to stay in the moment and try to believe in your abilities, in your return game,” added Djokovic. “My return game has served me quite well on the tour, so I just waited for my chances; when they were presented, I used them and used them well.”
Isner said it was very clear that Djokovic got comfortable once he got the break back and he made the mistake by letting the Serb back in by not getting enough first serves into play and “doing that against this guy, is not a good recipe”.
“He gets to a lot of balls; I knew that going in and that's why he is where he is right now,” said Isner. “A lot it has to do with his defense. He hit some where I felt like I hit a pretty good serve and it comes back. His hands are so quick and he stands in on the baseline and he was able to get my serve back. That caused me a lot of trouble.”
The first set of the Querrey-Troicki match see-sawed a bit. Querrey had broken Troicki’s serve earlier in the set and was serving for an important advantage but Troicki had other ideas and broke back. It went to a tiebreak before Querrey regrouped and rolled through. The lanky American delighted the crowd by breaking in the first game of the second set but Troicki struck right back to level.
Troicki was holding serve relatively comfortably and then in the sixth game he broke and maintained that lead to close out the set on his second set point with a massive smash down the line.
But Troicki let his guard down at that stage and Querrey gradually opened the door. He broke serve in the second game and then again in the sixth game with a terrific backhand passing shot down the line and levelled the match with a love service game.
The final set was touch and go tennis. Querrey staved off two break points in the fourth game and after that he put the pressure on Troicki. The Serb was starting to feel the effects of the match and needed treatment on his right leg which was getting tired. He was working hard to hold serve and then in the ninth game Querrey struck, breaking when Troicki netted a forehand.
Querrey served out the match and allowed his side to breath a sigh of relief going into the doubles rubber. Certainly the Americans will lead with Bob and Mike Bryan but the Serbs are tossing up who to pair Nenad Zimonjic with – Djokovic or Troicki.
Follow this tie as it happens: Live scores or Watch Live
Captain Bogdan Obradovic (SRB) - 05/04/2013
Viktor Troicki (SRB) - 05/04/2013
Captain Jim Courier (USA) - 05/04/2013
Sam Querrey (USA) - 05/04/2013
Novak Djokovic (SRB) - 05/04/2013
John Isner (USA) - 05/04/2013