American John Isner covers his head after losing in five sets against Spain's… (Alvaro Barrientos / Associated…)
What was already a rugged assignment became significantly more difficult when the United States lost its opening two singles matches Friday against host Spain in the Davis Cup semifinals on clay at Gijon.
David Ferrer, coming off a semifinal spot at the recently completed U.S. Open, beat Sam Querrey after a slow start, winning, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4, in the opener.
Then American John Isner followed with one of his trademark five-setters but lost to Nicolas Almagro. Almagro won the marathon, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
Isner is now 4-10 in career five-set matches, and, in fact, exited in each of the four Grand Slams in 2012 with losses in five sets.
Doubles will take center stage on Saturday with the United States fighting to stave off elimination. Bob and Mike Bryan will play Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez of Spain.
The Bryans are coming off a highly successful run, having won gold at the Olympics in London and the U.S. Open. The Open was their 12th Grand Slam championship, an Open era record for doubles.
They played Granollers and Lopez in the Toronto final on the ATP Tour in August, winning after saving a match point.
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