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U.S. takes 2-0 lead over Switzerland in Davis Cup

John Isner upsets Roger Federer, handing the Swiss his first defeat in a Davis Cup singles match in eight years.

February 10, 2012|Wire reports
  • American John Isner returns a shot during his first-round Davis Cup victory over Roger Federer of Switzerland on Friday.
American John Isner returns a shot during his first-round Davis Cup victory… (Laurent Gillieron / Associated…)

John Isner jolted Roger Federer with his big serve and booming groundstrokes Friday, winning 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2 and giving the United States a 2-0 lead against Switzerland in the first round of the Davis Cup at Fribourg, Switzerland.

Isner challenged the Swiss star in long rallies on the indoor clay court, sending Federer to his first loss in Davis Cup singles in eight years and quieting a Swiss crowd unaccustomed to such outcomes.

"I thought he played great," Federer said. "He played it tough and served great when he had to. I just missed a couple more opportunities than he did and that's what cost me the match."

Isner, 26, called it the "biggest win of my career thus far."

"I'm very proud of it," he said. "I played those break points down very well. It turned the match a little for me."

The upset was preceded by a riveting opening 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. Mike Bryan and teenager Ryan Harrison will face Federer and Wawrinka.

"It's been a difficult day for us," Federer said, adding: "We still have a chance to go through. I'm going to enjoy the challenge."

Seven other first-round series in the top tier of Davis Cup were contested Friday. Croatia and Japan were tied 1-1, Ahead 2-0 were Serbia (vs. Sweden), Austria (vs. Russia), Argentina (vs. Germany), Spain (vs. Kazakhstan) and Czech Republic (vs. Italy). The other matchup was Canada vs. France.

Top-seeded Maria Sharapova was upset at the Open GDF Suez at Paris, beaten by Angelique Kerber, 6-4, 6-4, in the quarterfinals.

Kerber broke serve three times in the first set and rallied from 3-1 down in the second, clinching the victory when Sharapova hit a forehand long.

Klara Zakopalova also advanced, rallying to beat sixth-seeded Julia Goerges, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1. Zakopalova will next face No. 2-seeded Marion Bartoli, who defeated Roberta Vinci, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2)

ETC.

No NCAA waiver for Connecticut

The NCAA turned down the University of Connecticut's request for a waiver that would allow its men's basketball team to play in the 2013 NCAA tournament.

The Huskies were barred from playing in the tournament because of below-standard academic results, but the school requested a waiver last month and proposed alternate penalties, including playing a shorter schedule next season, forfeiting the revenue awarded to the Big East Conference for participating in the 2013 tournament, and barring Coach Jim Calhoun from meeting off-campus with prospective recruits during the fall 2012 contact period.

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New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had arthroscopic surgery on the left ankle that hampered him in the Super Bowl.

Gronkowski, who set an NFL season record for tight ends with 17 touchdown receptions, had two catches for 26 yards in a 21-17 loss to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. His recovery is expected to take 10 to 12 weeks.

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Manu Ginobili is set to return to the San Antonio Spurs' lineup Saturday at New Jersey after sitting out more than a month because of a broken left hand.

Ginobili practiced Friday and, according to Coach Gregg Popovich, will play against the Nets. Popovich wasn't sure if Ginobili would start.

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Cavaliers rookie guard Kyrie Irving will sit out Cleveland's next two home games — against Milwaukee and Philadelphia — as he recovers from a concussion.

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Rory McIlroy and Thomas Bjorn each shot seven-under-par 65 and shared the lead after the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic in the United Arab Emirates.

McIlroy made seven birdies and overtook first-round leader Rafael Cabrera-Bello with a 13-under total of 131. Bjorn closed with two birdies to tie McIlroy and had five birdies on the back nine. Cabrera-Bello (69) was a shot behind the leaders.

Fourth-ranked Martin Kaymer (67) made a hole-in-one on 16 and trailed by two strokes. Third-ranked Lee Westwood (65) birdied his last three holes to reach 10 under.

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Corey Pavin shot eight-under 64 and took a two-shot lead over Fred Funk, Bernhard Langer and Peter Senior after the first round of the Allianz Championship at Boca Raton, Fla.

Pavin, winless in 34 starts on the Champions Tour, had six birdies in a seven-hole stretch and shot a back-nine 29 at Broken Sound Golf Club.

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A person familiar with the situation said former USC quarterback Mitch Mustain is close to signing a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal had not been finalized.

Mustain, a right-handed pitcher, hasn't played baseball since he was at Springdale (Ark.) High School. He played football at Arkansas as a freshman in 2006 before transferring to USC and backing up Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley.

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Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga was charged with assault in connection with an incident at a bar in downtown Cincinnati.

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