2/4/13 1:02 AM | Ricky Dimon
Brazil's impressive fight in the Davis Cup first round finally comes to an end at the hands of American Sam Querrey. Querrey's four-set win over Thiago Alves on Sunday puts the USA in the quarterfinals.
Twice the United States tried and failed to put away Brazil. Finally, however, Sam Querrey did what John Isner and the Bryan Brothers couldn't.
Querrey beat Thiago Alves 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3) in the decisive fifth rubber to send the host Americans into the quarterfinals. He fired 26 aces and held off a spirited effort from Alves after two hours and 37 minutes.
It could not have been a big surprise that Querrey came out flat. Not only was he huge favorite in a pressure-packed match, but his team was already in the midst of a fairly significant meltdown. Bob and Mike Bryan lost in five sets to Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares, then Isner dropped another five-setter to Thomaz Bellucci to begin Sunday's action. The downward spiral continued when Querrey threw away an early first-set lead against Alves and surrendered serve twice to lose the opener.
The 6'6'' American regained control by taking the second and third without too much trouble. He converted only one of eight break chances in the second, but one was enough. Querrey gave back a break in the third, but he quickly added another one before closing it out on serve at 5-4.
A dramatic fourth saw Alves continue to put up an admirable fight. With his back against the wall, the world No. 141 delivered a clutch hold at 3-5 then broke his opponent out of nowhere to remain alive. A nervous Querrey butchered an overhead on break point to make it 5-5. Two holds later, a tiebreaker had to decide the set. At long last, Querrey managed to play steadier from the baseline and his consistency pushed him across the finish line.
"I was just very happy with the way I battled through it," Querrey noted. "I'm really happy. I know it's the first live fifth rubber (for the United States) since 2000. It was kind of exciting for the team. It's always exciting to win a fifth and deciding match anywhere. I was thrilled I could help the guys out."
"(It) was a great match," Alves said. "Sam is a great player. I fight for all the match; was playing great tennis today. In the tiebreak, two points made the difference. I make two mistakes and that was the difference."
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