John Isner shocked Roger Federer 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, to give the United States a 2-0 lead against Switzerland in their Davis Cup first-round series on Friday. The upset was preceded by the opening round singles match, with Mardy Fish outlasting Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 9-7. The U.S. can eliminate Switzerland in doubles in the best-of-five series Saturday when Mike Bryan & Ryan Harrison face Federer & Wawrinka, the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medalists.
Seven other first-round series in the top tier of Davis Cup were contested Friday. Croatia and Japan were tied 1-1; Serbia led Sweden 2-0; Austria led Russia 2-0 and Argentina led Germany 2-0. The other matchups are: Spain vs. Kazakhstan, Canada vs. France and Czech Republic vs. Italy.
A partisan crowd of 7,000 at the Fribourg Forum was stunned into silence by Federer's first loss in Davis Cup singles in eight years. Federer had started in routine fashion, winning the first set without dropping serve. Isner broke Federer's serve in the sixth game of the second set, but failed to exert any pressure in the third. Federer couldn't take break point chances in the sixth and eighth games and the set drifted into a tie-break. Isner never trailed and clinched on his first set point with a subtle volley at the net that gave Federer no chance to retrieve.
The fourth set turned on the fifth game when Isner rallied from 0-40 down with three big serves and two blistering forehand winners. Federer never recovered. Isner reeled off four straight games, ending the match by rifling a backhand winner cross-court.