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U.S. turns to Isner, Sock, Bryan brothers in Davis Cup tie in Australia

February 23, 2016 10:22 AM

By Ashley Marshall, USTA.com

The U.S. will turn to a combination of experience and youth when it renews its longstanding Davis Cup rivalry with Australia next month.

Top-ranked American and world No. 11 John Isner, world No. 23 Jack Sock and 16-time Grand Slam doubles champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan will represent the U.S. in the 2016 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group First Round. Jim Courier will begin his sixth season as U.S. Davis Cup captain.

The best-of-five match series will be played on an outdoor grass court at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, March 4-6, in Kooyong, Australia, with a spot in July’s World Group quarterfinals on the line. The losing nation will compete in the World Group Playoffs, Sept. 16-18, for the right to remain in the World Group in 2017.

Isner, who reached the fourth round of January’s Australian Open, will be competing in his 11th Davis Cup tie. Sock, who reached the final of the ATP event in Auckland last month, will be representing the U.S. for just the second time; he won both of his singles matches in his debut in Uzbekistan in the 2015 World Group Playoffs, leading the U.S. back to the World Group for this season.

Bob and Mike Bryan, meanwhile, hold a 23-4 doubles record together in U.S. Davis Cup competition and will play in the pivotal doubles match on the middle day of competition. Their 23 wins are first all-time in U.S. Davis Cup history for a tandem and further solidify the brothers’ resume as the most successful doubles team in the Open era.

Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, who retired at this year’s Australian Open, will be making his debut as Australia’s Davis Cup captain. He named a team of world No. 21 Bernard Tomic, world No. 33 Nick Kyrgios, world No. 75 Sam Groth and doubles specialist John Peers to compete against the United States.

The U.S., which leads all nations with 32 Davis Cup titles, has faced Australia in Davis Cup play more times than any country, holding a 25-20 overall head-to-head record. The Americans and Aussies last met in 1999 in a World Group Quarterfinal tie, where the U.S. lost, 4-1. The U.S. last defeated Australia in the 1997 World Group Semifinal in Washington D.C., 4-1, behind a team of Pete Sampras, Todd Martin and Michael Chang.

Play begins at 11 a.m. local time (7 p.m. ET the day prior) on Friday, March 4, and Sunday, March 6. Play begins on Saturday at 12 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET on Friday). If the players are selected as expected, American No. 1 Isner (pictured above) will face Australian No. 2 Kyrgios on the opening day of play, with Sock squaring off against Tomic. Saturday’s schedule would feature the Bryan brothers against Groth and Peers, while Sunday’s lineup would pit the No. 1 players, Isner and Tomic, followed by the No. 2 selections, Sock and Kyrgios.

All matches are best-of-five sets until one nation clinches the tie. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match.

Additionally, Courier announced that former Ohio State standouts Connor Smith and Peter Kobelt will serve as practice partners for the U.S. Davis Cup team

The winner of March’s tie advances to the World Group Quarterfinal, July 15-17, and will play either Croatia or Belgium. Should the U.S. defeat Australia, it will host the tie in July.