DAVIS CUP: U.S. SWEEPS SWITZERLAND
Harrison, Isner Victories Complete 5-0 Shutout
By Junior Williams
Ryan Harrison won his first-ever Davis Cup match by defeating Michael Lammer 7-6(0), 7-6(4), as both players entertained the Forum Fribourg crowd for 2 hours and 14 minutes. John Isner wrapped up the shutout with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Marco Chiudinelli that took only 58 minutes to complete.
Harrison — ranked 95th in the world — posted a bagel in the first set tiebreak. The American put away a Lammer shot at net for a 2-0 mini-break, and finished the set with a forehand winner up the line.
The second set was chock full of long rallies: Harrison hitting powerful shots while the 251st-ranked Lammer did a great impersonation of a backboard, with stellar defensive play. The Swiss was also very successful coming to net and executing winners.
Neither player would give in during the first game of the second set tiebreak. A long rally culminated with another Harrison forehand winner to secure a mini-break. His streak of twelve straight tiebreak points ended with Harrison serving a double fault up 5-0. That sparked the crowd and Lammer, who rallied to narrow the score to 5-4. But the 19-year old American ramped up his service game to win the next two points and the match.
Just how close was the match? Harrison won 94 points, three more than Lammer.
Marco Chuidinelli was Switzerland’s last hope for averting a whitewash at home. But he had a tall order (literally and figuratively) in facing 6-foot 9-inch John Isner, who was coming off his stunning upset of Roger Federer.
The second dead rubber of the day involved lots of short points, mostly due to Isner’s booming serves. It took the American only 28 minutes to win the first set.
The 17th-ranked Isner broke Chiudinelli early in the second set, putting USA up 2-1 with a forehand winner up the line. Isner served out the match in grand style, holding at love with four consecutive aces.
The last U.S. sweep of a Davis Cup tie was in February 2004 when the Americans hosted Austria at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. Back then the U.S. squad consisted of Andy Roddick, Robby Ginepri and the Bryan twins.
The Americans and Captain Jim Courier now await the winner of the Canada-France tie, which will host the quarterfinals in April.
As for the Swiss, they must wait to find out who they will draw for the World Group play-off in September. The loser will be relegated to the second tier.
Even though the Americans had clinched the tie on Saturday, kudos to the Swiss fans for what was still a relatively healthy turnout for Sunday’s dead rubbers. Same goes for Roger Federer, who showed up to support his teammates despite suffering two defeats. However, no sign of Stanislas Wawrinka.
You have to go back to 1996 for the last time Switzerland was swept in a Davis Cup tie. The loss was to Germany in Geneva, and just like this weekend, the tie was played on clay.
My favorite delicacy at the Forum Fribourg was the bratwurst. Yes, it cost 7 swiss francs ($7.64 U.S) but well worth it.
Hopefully, next time they host a tie in Fribourg, the folks in charge will open more doors to allow ticket-holders access to their seats. The “sardine effect” is not helpful. But overall, they put on a good show.
Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a momentâ€™s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Fribourg, Switzerland covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the US and Switzerland for Tennis Panorama News.