Home-court advantage, marathon matches and powerhouses defeated—these are just some of the story lines you can expect from a typical Davis Cup tie.
This weekend, Round 1 began for the World Group, which featured some of the top players on the ATP Tour in eight ties stretched across the globe.
The start of the competition for 2013 did not disappoint. Here is how it all broke down.
Canada (H) def. Spain (A), 3:2
Italy (H) def. Croatia (A), 3:2
Serbia (A) def. Belgium (H), 3:2
USA (H) def. Brazil (A), 3:2
France (H) def. Israel (A), 5:0
Argentina (H) def. Germany (A), 5:0
Kazakhstan (H) def. Austria (A), 3:1
Czech Republic (A) def. Switzerland (H), 3:2
The longest match in Davis Cup history occurred Saturday between the Czech Republic and Switzerland. Surprisingly, it was a doubles match.
Tomas Berdych and Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic and Marco Chiudinelli and Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland were on court for seven hours and one minute.
Chiudinelli, from Switzerland, double faulted on the 13th match point to end the three-and-a-half-hour fifth set and hand victory to the away team.
The final score: 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 24-22.
The loss still left the Swiss with a 2-1 lead heading into the reverse singles. Despite fatigue on the final day, the Czechs turned it around and pulled off a 3:2 victory, led by Berdych’s win over Wawrinka.
The previous record had stood since 1982, when John McEnroe defeated Mats Wilander 9-7, 6-2 (15-17), 3-6, 8-6 in six hours, 22 minutes.
After taking a 2-0 lead after the opening round of singles, Team USA had to wait until the final match of the rubber to book its place in the quarterfinals.
Querrey and Isner won their first matches in straight sets. But what looked like a walkover turned into a battle featuring tiebreakers and a fifth set.
Mike and Bob Bryan might have been suffering from a grand slam hangover after their historic efforts in Australia, as they fell in five sets to Brazilians Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares.
Isner was up first on reverse singles day. After going ahead 2-1, he lost the final sets to hard-hitting Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci.
Even with the home crowd, it came down to the fifth and final match in Jacksonville, Fla.
America’s hopes rested on the racket of Sam Querrey. The Californian slipped up early, handing the first set to his Brazilian counterpart. But the home crowd fans kicked in, and Querrey ran away with the match in a hard-fought four-setter.
Vancouver, British Columbia, was the destination for the biggest upset of the weekend. The Spaniards fell to the up-and-coming Canadians 3:2.
However, this win is slightly deceiving. All four of Spain’s top 30 players were absent. Instead, world No. 34, Marcus Granollers, was the new face of the Spanish powerhouse.
Milos Raonic, the towering 22-year-old, led the Canadians to victory after going 2-0 in singles during the tie.
Elsewhere, with home-court advantage, the Kazakhstani side reinforced its label as Giant Killers when it defeated Austria 3:1.
The Kazaks do not have a top 150 player, but their astonishing run through the tiers of Davis Cup continues.
Ranked 165th in the world, Kazahkstan's Andrey Golubev had not won a match all season. But he secured the underdog story after winning both singles matches.
The only player in the top 100 singles rankings, Austrian’s Jurgen Melzer, was unable to carry his country to victory after he failed to win either singles match.
2012 Davis Cup Champions - Czech Rep.
Canada (C) vs. Italy
Serbia vs. USA (C)
France vs. Argentina (C)
Kazakhstan (C) vs. Czech Republic
The next round is from April 5 to April 7.
(C) = choice of ground.