2/3/13 9:53 PM | Ricky Dimon
The first-round Davis Cup tie between the United States and Brazil is going the distance. Thomaz Bellucci beats John Isner in five sets to keep Brazil's comeback hopes alive.
Although Brazil remains a huge underdog against the United States, the visitors are mounting an epic charge during first-round action in Jacksonville, Florida.
One day after Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares stunned Bob and Mike Bryan in five sets to give the Brazilians their first point of the weekend, Thomaz Bellucci upset John Isner 2-6, 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday afternoon. Bellucci withstood 22 Isner aces before prevailing in three hours and 29 minutes.
Despite recent knee troubles, Isner entered as a considerable favorite--especially after cruising through his opening singles rubber on Friday whereas Bellucci got blown off the court by Sam Querrey. For a while it looked like more of the same would continue. Isner broke right away for a 2-0 lead in the first set and added another break before serving it out at 5-2.
One break also decided the second, but this one went to Bellucci. That set the stage for a seemingly crucial third, which progressed to a tiebreaker after two missed break chances (one for each player). Isner battled back from a mini-break down in the 'breaker and eventually came up with a perfect half-volley down set point. The 6'9'' American finally finished it off at 8-7 with a service winner.
Bellucci, however, was not about to away and end the tie without a fight. The world No. 36 had other ideas, encouraged by an entire Brazilian team that also envisioned a comeback. Bellucci broke late in the fourth to force a decider and struck again for the decisive blow at 4-4 i the fifth. Isner, who had a break opportunity of his own early in the final set, fought off five break points but finally succumbed on the sixth.
An inspired Bellucci wrapped up the proceedings with ease one game later. He finished his effort with nine aces and 56 total winners (including serve).
The tie now comes down to Sam Querrey and Thiago Alves.
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