1/31/13 6:49 PM | Ricky Dimon
John Isner will join Sam Querrey as singles players for the United States in this weekend's tie against Brazil. Thomaz Bellucci leads the way for the visiting Brazilians.
No matter that Andy Roddick is retired and Mardy Fish is still on the sidelines. This is by no means a new era of Davis Cup for the United States, especially now that John Isner has decided to suit up for a first-round tie against Brazil.
With Isner on board and the Bryan Brothers once again anchoring doubles, Team USA the solid force it has been since 1989 (the last time it missed the World Group was in 1988). A knee injury forced Isner out of the Australian Open after it contributed to an opening loss in Sydney to Ryan Harrison (who would have replaced Isner this weekend), but the world No. 16 decided after practice on Wednesday night that he is fit to play.
Querrey is coming off a third-round showing in Melbourne, where he fell to Stanislas Wawrinka. Bob and Mike Bryan continued their doubles dominance by taking the title over the surprise runner-up team of Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling.
The Brazilians would have a chance in this one on clay, but they are the visitors and are naturally forced to compete on an indoor hard court. Thomaz Bellucci is certainly no slouch as the team's No. 1 player, but there is a steep drop-off to second singles representative Thiago Alves, who is ranked 141st in the world.
Barring an Isner injury, Brazil's only realistic shot (and a long one, at that) is for Bellucci to beat Querrey and Isner in the first and fourth rubbers, respectively, and for Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares to upset the Bryans on Saturday. Like the Americans, Brazil's strength is its doubles.
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