• Isner taking the court for second Davis Cup rubber

    1/31/13 7:48 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Isner taking the court for second Davis Cup rubber The United States has decided to go with John Isner for singles action this weekend in Jacksonville. Up first for Isner on Friday is Thiago Alves.

    John Isner may be the United States' top-ranked player, but he was a last-minute Davis Cup decision for this weekend's tie against Brazil in Jacksonville, Florida. That's because a recent knee injury hobbled Isner in Sydney and kept him out of the Australian Open.

    Alas, the 16th-ranked American deemed himself ready for action after several practices throughout the week. He will look to get his back in shape and record a victory for the first time this season (he lost his Sydney opener to countryman Ryan Harrison). Isner has won a mere four matches since Winston-Salem last summer and just two since the U.S. Open.

    Alves could be just what the doctor ordered for Isner as the big man hopes to get on track in 2013. The 30-year-old journeyman has won only eight ATP-level matches in his career and he registers at No. 141 in the world rankings. Alves has appeared in just a single Davis Cup rubber for Brazil, back in 2008 against Croatia. He lost both of his rubbers (one of which was live, against Ivo Karlovic).

    Although Isner may not be in great form, he often wakes up with a bang in team competition. Last season, the former world No. 9 upset Roger Federer in Switzerland then cruised past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon in France. All five of Isner's career losses have come on clay, three in five sets and the other two in four.

    Playing at home, Isner will be inspired to put on another good show for the United States. Unless he is far less than 100 percent, Isner should overpower Alves on an indoor hard court in straight sets.

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