Switzerland and USA are going head-to-head for the fourth time with home advantage proving decisive in their previous outings. Roger Federer won all three rubbers when the Swiss recorded their sole victory in 2001, but the 16-time Grand Slam champion wasn’t in the team when USA gained revenge in 2009. However, the most memorable clash between these two nations was their first meeting in 1992. The occasion was the Davis Cup Final when an American ‘dream team’ made up of Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and John McEnroe lifted the trophy in Fort Worth, Texas.
Newly promoted Switzerland, who bounced straight back to the World Group in 2011 after a one-year absence, have selected an indoor clay court for the visit of USA. The last time they played a home tie on clay was six years ago, which suggests that this decision was made with one eye on their American opposition. Switzerland’s loss to USA in 1992 remains, to date, their only appearance in a Davis Cup Final, but victory here would put them in the frame for being title contenders once again.
USA, with 32 wins, are the most successful nation in Davis Cup history. However, recent times have been more of a struggle, highlighted by them claiming just one title in the last 16 years. A change in captaincy last season, with Jim Courier taking over from Patrick McEnroe, looked to signal a change in fortunes, but after an away win over Chile in the first round, Courier’s men slipped to defeat against eventual champions Spain in the quarterfinals. The Americans will draw strength from their last two away ties, both wins and both on clay, against Chile and Colombia, although facing Switzerland could provide a more comprehensive challenge.
Verdict: This tie is shaping up to be another classic and both teams will fancy their chances of progressing to the last eight.