SYDNEY (Reuters) - A barrage of aces can be expected in the second rubber of Australia’s Davis Cup quarter-final against the United States in Brisbane on Friday after Nick Kyrgios was drawn to play John Isner in singles.
Australian Kyrgios, who has beaten Novak Djokovic twice and taken Roger Federer close over the last month on the back of some brilliant serving, is tied for third place with the tall American on the ATP leaderboard with 218 aces this season.
The clash between world number 16 Kyrgios and the 23rd ranked Isner will follow Jack Sock’s first meeting with 22-year-old Australian Jordan Thompson on the hard court of the Pat Rafter Arena.
“I’m looking forward to getting back here and having some home support,” said Kyrgios, who had to deal with a hostile crowd when he lost to Federer in Miami last week.
“I feel comfortable playing second. I’ll be out there for some of Thommo’s match and I think it’s a good match up with him against Sock.”
Another Australian big server, Sam Groth, will team up with John Peers to take on Sam Querrey, who is no slouch in the service department, and Steve Johnson in Saturday’s doubles before the reverse singles on Sunday.
The two countries have 60 Davis Cup titles between them but Australia have not won since they bagged their 28th crown in 2003, while the U.S. snared their 32nd a decade ago.
Isner has a 2-1 record against Kyrgios after beating the 21-year-old in their first two meetings at the Canadian and Madrid Masters tournaments in 2015 before losing in two tight sets in Atlanta last year.
“Right now, a lot of people could argue he’s playing maybe the best tennis he’s ever played,” Isner said of Kyrgios.
“If our match does go to five sets I think it would make for a pretty cool atmosphere out there at the very least.”
In-form Sock, the highest ranked player in the tie at world number 15, will be going into the unknown all weekend as he has never previously faced Kyrgios either.
Thompson gets his chance to represent his country for a second time in the absence of Bernard Tomic, who declined to play the tie.
Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt was confident the world number 79 would be able to cope after winning both his singles matches in the first round tie against the Czech Republic.
“The positive is that Jordan has been in this situation before,” captain Lleyton Hewitt said.
“It’s going to be two tough matches tomorrow but we’ll be up for the challenge.”
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O'Brien