Davis Cup: American Sock to play Aussie Thompson to open QF

BY AP • April 6, 2017

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) For the second year in a row, the countries with the most Davis Cup victories will meet. This time, Australia is hoping for a better result over the United States.

Following Thursday's draw, American No. 1 Jack Sock will play Australia's Jordan Thompson to open their World Group quarterfinal in Brisbane on Friday, followed by Nick Kyrgios' match against John Isner.

The match will be played on hard courts at Pat Rafter Arena, with doubles set for Saturday and reverse singles on Sunday. The winner will play Italy or Belgium in the semifinals in September.

The U.S. leads the head-to-head 26-20 and won the most recent meeting between the teams last year on grass at Kooyong in Melbourne in the first round.

The U.S. has won the title a leading 32 times, with Australia second on 28. But the U.S hasn't won the Davis Cup since 2007, Australia since 2003.

Sock is 15th and Isner 23rd in the ATP rankings, while Kyrgios is 16th and Thompson 79th. Australia's second-ranked player, Bernard Tomic (43rd) is not playing.

Other team members are Sam Groth and John Peers for Australia and Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson for the U.S. They are scheduled to meet in doubles.

The last time the two teams met in a World Group quarterfinal was in 1999, when Australia won 4-1, and it featured both current captains. It was the last Davis Cup match Jim Courier played for the U.S., while Lleyton Hewitt made his debut for Australia.

Kyrgios is coming off a three-set loss - all in tiebreakers - to Roger Federer, who went on to win the Miami Open last week. In that semifinal match, most of the crowd was in favor of Federer, the Australian Open champion who also won at Indian Wells before Miami.

''I'm looking forward to getting back here and having some home support,'' Kyrgios said. ''I think anything is possible this year.''

Isner has won two of his three previous matches against Kyrgios, but the Australian won their most recent meeting in last year's Atlanta ATP final.

''In my opinion I think he's a lot more mature now,'' Isner said of Kyrgios. ''Right now, a lot of people could argue he's playing maybe the best tennis he's ever played.''

The International Tennis Federation will consider at its annual general meeting in August whether ties from next year will be reduced to best-of-three matches instead of five, and be played over two days instead of three.

It's part of an attempt by the ITF to attract more top players during an already-crowded playing schedule. This year's first-round matches were held the weekend after the Australian Open, with Novak Djokovic the only top-10 player to take part.

Hewitt, a traditionalist, favors the current set-up, while Courier in the past has indicated that changes might be good for the competition.

''We're focusing on what we can do now (instead of) whatever happens in the future and how the competition looks,'' Hewitt said. ''We want to give ourselves the best opportunity. It would be pretty special to get to the final four.''

Courier says he's hoping whatever happens, it will help improve the event.

''We don't know what's going to come, we're not part of that process,'' Courier said. ''Whatever the future holds for Davis Cup, hopefully it will continue to become a better competition overall.''

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