Fish, Falla to open Davis Cup playoff

BY foxsports • September 17, 2010

American Mardy Fish will face Colombian Alejandro Falla in the opening singles match of the Davis Cup playoff between the United States and Colombia.

The second singles match Friday has American Sam Querrey against Santiago Giraldo.

At the draw on Thursday, U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe selected John Isner and Ryan Harrison to face Carlos Salamanca and Robert Farah in Saturday doubles. Reverse singles are Sunday.

''We always feel the pressure to win, particularly in a playoff match,'' McEnroe said. ''It's important for us to try to get back into the World Group. We have the edge in the rankings. They have the edge in the home court advantage.''

The match will be played on red clay at Bogota's La Santamaria bullring, which is located at 8,700 feet in elevation. The winner will remain in the Davis Cup World Cup, the top tier of the competition, which the U.S. has dropped out of only once since it began in 1981.

The Americans arrived last weekend, and Fish said they have adjusted to the altitude.

''It takes a few days to get over the altitude sickness a little bit and sort of get used to it,'' Fish said. ''You are feeling your lungs at little bit more than normal.''

Colombia is trying to advance to the World Group for the first time and has a 1-1 record against the United States in the Davis Cup. The teams have not met since 1979.

The U.S. is 3-1 in World Group playoffs and won the last one in 2005, defeating Belgium 4-1 on clay. The Americans would seem to have the edge based on player rankings. Fish is No. 19, better than No. 64 Falla. Querrey at No. 21 tops the 61st-ranked Giraldo.

However, the thin air is sure to be a factor in the Colombia capital, and clay is also the weakest surface for the United States.

The Americans are also competing with a new lineup. For the first time, McEnroe — who is retiring as captain after this match — will have a lineup that doesn't include Andy Roddick, James Blake or the Bryan brothers.

McEnroe has been on the job for 10 years and is the longest serving captain in U.S. Davis Cup history. He led the United States to the title in 2007, the first for the Americans since 1995. The U.S. has won the Davis Cup 32 times, more than any other country.

''It's been quite an honor to be the captain for so long,'' McEnroe said. ''And I'm hoping to go out with a win.''

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