The Davis Cup is the pre-eminent international competition in tennis, as it has been contested since 1900. With such a rich history, all 16 competing nations would undoubtedly love to put themselves in the record books in 2015.
While some of the world's best players have opted to sit out the event either due to injury or a desire for rest, that doesn't apply to the likes of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and many others. With several elite players in the field, there is no shortage of intrigue surrounding the opening round.
As teams attempt to advance to July's quarterfinal round, here is a day-by-day breakdown of the Davis Cup action taking place across the globe.
Current Overall Results
|2015 Davis Cup Overall First-Round Results|
|Team 1||Team 2||Score|
|USA||Great Britain||3-2, GBR|
|Czech Republic||Australia||3-2, AUS|
Day 3 Results
|2015 Davis Cup Day 3 Singles Results|
|Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)||Gilles Simon (FRA)||GER; 7-6, 6-4|
|Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)||Nicolas Mahut (FRA)||GER; 7-6, 6-3|
|Andy Murray (GBR)||John Isner (USA)||GBR; 7-6, 6-3, 7-6|
|James Ward (GBR)||Donald Young (USA)||USA; 5-7, 1-0 ret.|
|Lukas Rosol (CZE)||Bernard Tomic (AUS)||AUS; 7-6, 6-3, 7-6|
|Jan Mertl (CZE)||Sam Groth (AUS)||CZE; 6-3, 6-2|
|Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)||Andreas Seppi (ITA)||KAZ; 7-6, 6-0, 6-4|
|Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ)||Fabio Fognini (ITA)||KAZ; 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5|
|Leonardo Mayer (ARG)||Joao Souza (BRA)||ARG; 7-6(4), 7-6(5), 5-7, 5-7, 15-13|
|Carlos Berlocq (ARG)||Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)|
|Filip Krajinovic (SRB)||Franko Skugor (CRO)||SRB; 6-4, 6-2|
|Viktor Troicki (SRB)||Mate Delic (CRO)||SRB; 6-4, 6-3|
|Milos Raonic (CAN)||Kei Nishikori (JPN)||JPN; 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2, 4-6|
|Vasek Pospisil (CAN)||Tatsuma Ito (JPN)||CAN; 7-5, 6-3, 6-4|
|Steve Darcis (BEL)||Henri Laaksonen (SUI)||SUI; 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-1|
|Ruben Bemelmans (BEL)||Michael Lammer (SUI)||BEL; 6-4, 6-0, 6-4|
The Bryan brothers kept the United States alive with a tense five-set victory Saturday. The Americans' hopes of reaching the quarterfinals ended in the first match Sunday, however, as Andy Murray knocked off John Isner to advance Great Britain.
It's the second straight year Great Britain has knocked out the U.S. with Murray delivering the final blow. He won a close first set in a tiebreak and never looked back, taking advantage of a tiring Isner, who lost in five sets on the opening day.
BBC Tennis pointed out the lack of success on return, which ultimately doomed Isner twice:
The U.S. Davis Cup Team congratulated the winning side:
Great Britain moves on to play France in the next round.
Kazakhstan also advanced with an upset of Italy. Mikhail Kukushkin won both of his singles matches, and Aleksandr Nedovyesov came up with a thrilling five-set triumph over Fabio Fognini in the deciding match.
Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times noted the conclusion:
Stuart Fraser of the Daily Mail highlighted the country's surprising success in the opening round of the event in recent years:
Kazakhstan found out its quarterfinal opponent a short time later.
That's because as Nedovyesov beat Fognini, Australia's Bernard Tomic was putting the finishing touches on a straight-sets win over Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic. It was his second victory of the round and gave the Aussies the necessary three points.
Not only does the successful series set up a very winnable quarterfinal with Kazakhstan, but Australia also gets to serve as the host. So there's a golden opportunity to at least reach the semifinals. In fact, that should be the expectation.
Darren Cahill of ESPN praised the effort of Tomic:
The Davis Cup provided draw details for the next round:
Canada and Belgium also punched their tickets for the quarterfinals on Sunday, setting up what will be a fun head-to-head matchup.
The Canadians got through after Vasek Pospisil covered for teammate Milos Raonic and beat Go Soeda in straight sets. Kei Nishikori made it interesting by beating Raonic earlier in the day, but his effort was all for naught as Soeda was outclassed by Pospisil.
Belgium also needed the fifth match in order to advance, with David Goffin taking out Adrien Bossel in straight sets.
Day 2 Results
|2015 Davis Cup Day 2 Doubles Results|
|Team 1||Team 2||Winner||Score|
|Becker/Begemann (GER)||Benneteau/Mahut (FRA)||Benneteau/Mahut||4-6, 3-6, 2-6|
|Inglot/J. Murray (GBR)||Bryan/Bryan (USA)||Bryan/Bryan||3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(8), 7-9|
|Pavlasek/Vesely (CZE)||Groth/Hewitt (AUS)||Pavlasek/Vesely||1-6, 7-6(2), 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2|
|Golubev/Nedovyesov (KAZ)||Fognini/Bolelli (ITA)||Fognini/Bolelli||6-7(4), 3-6, 7-6(13), 4-6|
|Schwartzman/Berlocq (ARG)||Melo/Soares (BRA)||Melo/Soares||5-7, 3-6, 4-6|
|Djokovic/Zimonjic (SRB)||Draganja/Skugor (CRO)||Djokovic/Zimonjic||6-3, 6-4, 6-1|
|Nestor/Pospisil (CAN)||Soeda/Uchiyama (JPN)||Nestor/Pospisil||7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3|
|Bemelmans/Desein (BEL)||Bossel/Lammer (SUI)||Bemelmans/Desein||1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2|
The Italian combination of Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli was able to put their side in the driver's seat heading into Sunday singles with a four-set win over Andrei Golubev and Alexander Nedovesov of Kazakhstan.
Fognini and Bolelli are ideal Davis Cup players. Not only are they solid singles competitors, but they also excel as a pair in doubles. They illustrated that by winning the Australian Open doubles crown back in January.
They raced out to a two-set lead before Golubev and Nedovesov fought back in the third. An extended, tense tiebreak fell in the Kazakhs' favor. But the Italians were able to regroup in time to secure the win without needing a fifth set.
Fognini sent along a picture of the winning side:
France locked up a spot in July's quarterfinals thanks to Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut, which easily dispatched Benjamin Becker and Andre Begemann of Germany in straight sets. The win gave the French side an insurmountable 3-0 lead.
The French Federation of Tennis highlighted the celebration of the first team to reach the quarters. Next up will be the winner of the fixture between the United States and Great Britain.
Serbia joined France in the quarterfinals thanks to Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic. The top-ranked player on the ATP Tour had already picked up a singles victory on Friday. He stepped right back up today to finish off Croatia.
Tennis Panorama News notes the Serbians will get the winners of Brazil against Argentina:
Australia had a chance to become the third nation in the next round. The Czech Republic team of Jirí Vesely and Adam Pavlasek prevented their side's elimination, however, with a hard-fought victory over Sam Groth and Lleyton Hewitt in five sets.
The Davis Cup showcased the comeback triumph that kept the Czechs alive heading into the second pair of singles matches:
After splitting the Day 1 singles clashes, Belgium was able to give itself a slight edge with a doubles victory. It was Ruben Bemelmans and Niels Desein bouncing back after a lackluster opening set to edge the Swiss side of Adrien Bossel and Michael Lammer.
Switzerland is without Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka. In turn, former Belgian player Filip Dewulf is confident the doubles win should lead to his home side advancing:
For the Americans, the pressure was on the Bryan brothers—Bob and Mike—to keep their hopes of advancing alive for another day. A shocking five-set loss by John Isner after leading 2-0 on Friday put the team's backs against the wall.
It appeared the world's top doubles tandem was on cruise control through two sets. But for a second straight day Great Britain, this time the team of Dominic Inglot and Jamie Murray, was able to fight all the way back to force a deciding fifth set.
This time the United States regrouped in time to get the point. Not before an extended battle, though. The Bryans were finally able to get the break a 7-7 and then closed it out on serve to at least give their team a chance on Sunday.
The U.S. Davis Cup Team celebrated the escape:
Bob Bryan thanked fans for the great atmosphere:
The Americans still face an uphill battle to complete the comeback. They'll be happy to take their chances after nearly getting knocked out in truly agonizing fashion, though.
Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares scored a straight-sets triumph over Carlos Berlocq and Diego Schwartzman to give Brazil a 2-1 lead over Argentina. After a tight first set, the Brazilians were able to settle in and left very few openings for their South American counterparts.
Caro Paquin of BA Tennis World noted it was a tough ask of the Argentine pair:
In the final match of the day, Canada grabbed a 2-1 lead over Japan after a doubles victory from Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil. The Canadian duo needed the full five sets to get past Go Soeda and Yasutaka Uchiyama.
After the match, Nestor said that he wasn't expecting any less of a fight from Soeda and Uchiyama, per the Canadian Press, via Sportsnet:
You are playing Davis Cup and you have to expect they are going to play their best. Sometimes I get a little frustrated because you want to go more straight forward. There is a reason you are ranked higher and you want them to fold. That doesn’t happen.
Canada is now in a great position heading into the final singles round. It just needs either Milos Raonic or Pospisil to prevail, and it will be through.
Day 1 Results
The opening day of Davis Cup competition featured everything a tennis fan could possibly ask for. There were dominant performances from top players, a few upsets and plenty of interesting matchups all over the world.
Here is a rundown of how things played out Friday, courtesy of DavisCup.com, with two days of first-round action still on tap:
|2015 Davis Cup Day 1 Singles Results|
|Player 1||Player 2||Winner||Score|
|Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)||Gilles Simon (FRA)||Simon||7-6(4), 2-6, 6-7(1), 6-2, 10-8|
|Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)||Gael Monfils (FRA)||Monfils||6-4, 7-5, 7-6(4)|
|Andy Murray (GBR)||Donald Young (USA)||Murray||6-1, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2|
|James Ward (GBR)||John Isner (USA)||Ward||6-7(4), 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(3), 15-13|
|Lukas Rosol (CZE)||Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS)||Kokkinakis||4-6, 2-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3|
|Jiri Vesely (CZE)||Bernard Tomic (AUS)||Tomic||4-6, 3-6, 6-7(5)|
|Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)||Simone Bolelli (ITA)||Kukushkin||7-6(6), 6-1, 6-2|
|Andrey Golubev (KAZ)||Andreas Seppi (ITA)||Seppi||6-3, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2|
|Carlos Berlocq (ARG)||Joao Souza (BRA)||Souza||6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2|
|Leonardo Mayer (ARG)||Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)||Mayer||6-4, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3|
|Novak Djokovic (SRB)||Mate Delic (CRO)||Djokovic||6-3, 6-2, 6-4|
|Viktor Troicki (SRB)||Borna Coric (CRO)||Troicki||4-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1|
|Milos Raonic (CAN)||Tatsuma Ito (JPN)||Raonic||6-2, 6-1, 6-2|
|Vasek Pospisil (CAN)||Kei Nishikori (JPN)||Nishikori||4-6, 6-7(5), 3-6|
|Ruben Bemelmans (BEL)||Henri Laaksonen (SUI)||Laaksonen||1-6, 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-0, 6-2|
|Steve Darcis (BEL)||Michael Lammer (SUI)||Darcis||6-3, 6-1, 6-3|
Perhaps the most highly anticipated matchup of the first round pits the United States against Great Britain. The Americans have won the Davis Cup more than anyone else, with 32 titles, while the Brits are third with nine.
While neither squad is considered to be among the best currently, they put on an entertaining show at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Brits were heavily favored in the opening match as world No. 5 Andy Murray took on Donald Young. Despite Team USA being the obvious underdogs, it had some recent history on its side.
As pointed out by Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times, Murray entered the match having struggled against American players in the month of March for some unexplained reason:
Murray could have let that stat get in his head, but any concern was quickly erased as he came out of the gates firing. He breezed through the first two sets of the match, allowing Young to take just one game in each.
With Murray rolling, his older brother and fellow Team GB member Jamie Murray couldn't help but be impressed:
It would have been easy for Young to fold with Murray rolling on home soil, but that certainly wasn't the case. The young American battled back to take the third set 6-4, and he received approval from teammates Bob and Mike Bryan:
That would turn out to be the high point of Young's day, though, as Murray returned to dominant form in the fourth set to win it 6-2 and take the match as well.
According to DavisCup.com, winning in such impressive fashion in Scotland meant a lot to Murray:
I was born here so to play in front of a packed arena in Glasgow is very special. I'm glad I managed to play a good match and get the win. The emotions were running pretty high and I played an extremely high level in the first two sets and it was tough to keep that level up so I had a slight lull in the third set.
With Murray giving Britain a 1-0 lead overall, the pressure shifted toward big John Isner, who likely needed a win over James Ward in order to keep Team USA's hopes of advancing to the quarters alive.
The big-serving Isner was favored, much like Murray was for Great Britain, but there was even more riding on his shoulders with the Americans facing a deficit.
Isner and Ward matched each other shot for shot in the opening set, which resulted in the need for a tiebreak.
Per Christopher Clarey of The New York Times, Isner is certainly no stranger to those types of high-pressure situations:
His tiebreak experience ultimately paid off as he took it 7-4 to win the opening set. The second set seemed destined for a tiebreak as well, but the American was able to strike a major blow at 5-5.
According to Dan King of The Sun, Isner manufactured the first break of the match for either player to go up 6-5:
With his serve humming along, Isner made no mistake by holding once again to win the second set 7-5 and pulled within one set of victory.
All signs pointed toward Isner closing it out, but he showed his first sign of weakness in the third set. Ward was able to break him twice with the second one whipping the Scottish crowd into a frenzy, per Arash Madani of Sportsnet:
Ward closed out the third set on serve to take it 6-3, which shifted the pressure back toward Isner in a virtual must-win situation.
Isner put himself in a comfortable position, as he forced the second tiebreak of the match in the fourth. It was Ward who showed nerves of steel, though, by winning the tiebreak and forcing a decisive fifth set.
According to Barry Flatman of The Sunday Times, Isner was his own worst enemy due to a bevy of unforced errors:
With no tiebreak in the fifth set, Isner and Ward seemed poised to slug it out well beyond the length of a typical match, and that is precisely what happened. The Brit constantly put the pressure on Isner as he served first, but the big American continued to dig deep and hold serve in his own right.
After several break points and match points were avoided on both sides, Ward was finally able to put Isner away by breaking him at love to take it 15-13.
With that victory, the Brits put the Americans on the ropes as another Murray singles match is still in Great Britain's back pocket.
In other action, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic gave Serbia an early advantage over Croatia by cruising past an overmatched Mate Delic in straight sets.
While Delic put forth a strong effort, Djoker proved to be too much. After his triumph to put Serbia on top 1-0, Nole showed his support for the home fans, per Davis Cup on Twitter:
Djokovic's showing was supplemented by teammate Viktor Troicki, as he overcame a two-set deficit to score a comeback victory over Croatia's Borna Coric.
Serbia now has a commanding 2-0 lead, which will be extremely difficult to come back from since Djokovic still has another singles match on tap.
Every tie is technically still up for grabs, and there is little doubt that many of them will come down to the wire in exciting fashion.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.