Mar 5, 2016 10:10 PM
Isner moves US into Davis Cup quarterfinals with 4-set win
The Associated Press
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) John Isner moved the United States into the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup World Group, defeating Australia's Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (4) on Sunday for a winning 3-1 edge in the first-round tie on grass at Kooyong.
Isner, who beat Sam Groth on Friday in the opening singles match, appeared to sustain an upper left leg injury early in the second set. In the 12th game of the third set, he saved four set points before Tomic sent it to a fourth set when Isner netted a backhand.
The big-serving American finished the match with a service winner and ace, one of his 49 in the match.
The scheduled reverse singles match between Groth and Jack Sock was not played, leaving the final scoreline 3-1 for the U.S.
The Americans will next host the winner of Croatia and Belgium in the quarterfinals. Croatia leads that series 2-1 going into Sunday's reverse singles.
Bob and Mike Bryan beat Australia team captain Lleyton Hewitt who came out of a 41-day retirement and John Peers 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 in doubles to put the Americans in front on Saturday. Hewitt had replaced an ill Nick Kyrgios in the Australian squad but didn't play in either of the opening singles.
On Friday in singles, Isner beat Groth and Tomic defeated Sock to leave the tie level at 1-1 after the first day.
"We always knew it was going to be very difficult coming down here," U.S. captain Jim Courier said. "Our team came good. John stepped up today."
On Sunday, Tomic appeared to take issue with Kyrgios' absence due to a virus.
Midway through the second set and struggling against Isner, Tomic was heard on courtside microphones telling Hewitt during a changeover: "Nick's sitting down in Canberra ... he's sick ... two times Nick's done it."
Tomic was possibly referring to Kyrgios' Davis Cup withdrawal last February before their tie against the Czech Republic.
Ahead of Saturday's doubles, the court surface became controversial when the International Tennis Federation admitted that the Kooyong matches should have been played on hard courts, not grass.
In 1999, the last time Australia and the U.S. met in the Davis Cup, Australia should have hosted the matches. But a decision was made by the ITF to stage a 100th-anniversary celebration of the Davis Cup at Longwood Cricket Club near Boston, so that match was played there.
The ITF placated Australia by having it played on hard court instead of clay, which the Americans preferred. In exchange, it was agreed that the next time the two countries played in Australia, it would be on hard courts.
But that pact was somehow overlooked when Australia announced a drop-in grass court as the surface at Kooyong, the former Australian Open venue in suburban Melbourne.
"This was an oversight by the ITF, USTA and TA which all acknowledge and will refer to the Davis Cup Committee," the ITF said in a statement. "While neither nation remembered the condition attached to this tie, now that it has been brought to their attention both Australia and USA, in the spirit of sportsmanship ... have agreed to accept the decision of the committee regarding surface for the future tie."