U.S., Colombia tied 1-1 vs. Colombia
Santiago Giraldo beat Sam Querrey 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 on Friday to give Colombia a 1-1 tie with the United States in their three-day Davis Cup playoff match.
In the opener, Mardy Fish edged Alejandro Falla 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
After a doubles match Saturday, the competition will conclude Sunday with reverse singles.
The winner Sunday will get a spot in the World Group. The United States, a record 32-time champion in the event, has dropped out of the World Group only once since it began in 1981.
Ryan Harrison and John Isner are set to play doubles for the United States, although Fish said he would be ready to step in. Colombia is expected to counter with Robert Farah and Carlos Salamanca.
Giraldo broke Querrey in the third set to take a 6-5 lead, then served out to pull Colombia even.
The first match lasted 3 hours, 59 minutes, with Fish breaking Falla in the final game of the fifth set. The home crowd of about 8,000 supported Falla with loud cheers.
''The key was staying ahead in the fifth set,'' Fish said. ''I had some tough games to hold but was always able to stay ahead. When he had to serve to stay into it at 5-4, that's when all the pressure kicked in.''
The match on red clay is being played at the La Santamaria bullring at about 8,700 feet above sea level.
Fish has put more emphasis on fitness recently and it paid off with his fourth victory in five tries this season in five-set matches.
''I was a gutsy mental effort by Mardy today,'' said U.S. coach Patrick McEnroe, retiring after the weekend. ''It goes to show what being fit means.''
Fish suggested both players might have an easier time on another surface.
''He (Falla) hits the ball flat and I think he would have preferred a hard court,'' Fish said. ''We both would have preferred to play on a hard court. Maybe the tennis would be a little bit better.''
The statistical categories were nearly even for the two, though Fish had a clear edge in aces — 8-1.
The Americans also may have the edge in history. The United States is 178-17 when winning the first match in a Davis Cup tie.