The U.S. begins first-round Davis Cup play Friday, February 10 against Switzerland on a clay court that is expected to play fast in Fribourg, Switzerland. This will be the fourth time the two teams have met in Davis Cup play and it will be the first time on clay. The U.S., which is seeking its 33rd Davis Cup title, leads the series 2-1.
Here's a preview:
World No. 8 Fish holds a 2-0 lead in head-to-head play against Wawrinka, who is currently ranked No. 28, but both matches were played on hard courts. Fish will have his work cut out for him, given that Wawrinka's best surface, statistically speaking, is clay. Wawrinka is 87-52 in his career on the surface, meanwhile Fish is 28-34. I think Fish has too much game for Wawrinka though, especially on faster clay, so I'm picking Mardy.
Federer leads Isner 2-0 in head-to-head play with both matches being played on hard courts. The one glaring statistic that stands out is, Federer has broken Isner seven times in the six sets they have played. If Federer can break Isner on hard courts, he can certainly do it on clay. Isner has never broken Federer. Federer should win this one.
Bob Bryan, Mike's usual doubles partner, is unavailable due to the birth of his child. Harrison, 19, will fill in for Bob. Harrison was just 5-7 in doubles in 2011, but he did win a doubles title with Matthew Ebden in Newport on grass. Federer and Wawrinka were 5-2 last year as a doubles team. I lean toward Federer-Wawrinka in this match, hoping I'm wrong.
R4 Fish vs. Federer
Federer is 7-1 in his career against Fish, with Fish's lone win coming on a hard court at Indian Wells in 2008. Fish has played Federer tough the last two times they met, taking Roger the distance (three sets), but coming up short. They have never played each other on a clay court. In a best of five set scenario, I have to pick Federer. Again, I'd love to be wrong.
R5 Isner vs. Wawrinka
Isner holds a 2-1 lead against Wawrinka, with one of those wins coming on clay in Serbia in 2010. All three of their match-ups have been close, regardless of the surface. I can see this one going five sets with Isner's serve putting him over the top.
Lee Warren is a sportswriter from Omaha, Nebraska who has written hundreds of articles for various newspapers, magazines and websites. He played high school tennis and has been a fan of the game since he was young. You can follow him on Twitter @leewarren, where he often Tweets about tennis.