The US, last year’s runners-up, edged past Sweden 2-1 in their opening group match at the World Team Cup on Monday, with Mardy Fish and John Isner claiming the deciding doubles victory.
The US pair beat doubles specialists Simon Aspelin and Robert Lindstedt 4-6, 7-6, 10-4 after twice French Open runner-up Robin Soderling had fought back from a set and 5-3 down to beat Sam Querrey 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 and level the match.
Isner had earlier put the US in the driving seat when he beat lowly-ranked teenager Christian Lindell 6-4, 6-1 at the team event.
Soderling found himself on the ropes against the powerful Querrey before hitting back.
Querrey, ranked 26th in the ATP rankings, matched Soderling’s hard-hitting baseline game blow for blow early on and snatched his only break at 5-5 before grabbing the first set with his 10th ace.
Another break early in the second set for the big-serving American sent him 5-3 up and looking in complete control before Soderling began to find his range.
The world No. 5 rattled off the next five games to level the match. Soderling missed his first match point at 5-3 in the decider, but carved out another one 20 minutes later to win after two hours and 25 minutes.
Hosts Germany completed what they started on Sunday, with world No. 21 Florian Mayer sending them 2-0 up against Serbia with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Viktor Troicki.
Mayer chased the frustrated Troicki across the court, hitting his trademark crosscourt running forehand to stretch the Serbian.
Another break put the 27-year-old German 5-2 up before another bad Troicki return gave the host nation their first win in the blue group.
OPEN DE NICE
AP, NICE, FRANCE
Victor Hanescu of Romania eased into the second round of the Open de Nice with a 6-0, 6-1 win over French qualifier Benoit Paire on Monday.
Hanescu, a semi-finalist in Casablanca last month, broke his opponent five times and saved the six break points he faced to close out the match in just 54 minutes. The Romanian will next meet fourth-seeded Andy Roddick of the US.
“I’m really happy that I won so easily, I don’t know what happened because he is a good player,” Hanescu said. “I came here to feel the court, to feel the balls. My goal is to play well here ahead of the French Open.”
Pere Riba advanced by beating Guillaume Ruffin of France 6-2, 6-2. The Spaniard, who dropped only five points on first serve, next plays fifth-seeded Alexandr Dogolpolov of Ukraine.
Pablo Andujar of Spain was leading 5-0 when Grigor Dimitrov retired ill and will next take on either sixth-seeded Marcos Baghdatis or Julien Benneteau. Andujar won his first ATP title in Casablanca.
Andujar was joined in the second round by Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, who beat Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-2, 7-6 (5) for his first victory on the ATP Tour since March.
Andreas Seppi of Italy rallied to beat French wild card Edouard Roger-Vasselin 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. His next opponent will be the top-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer.
AP, STRASBOURG, FRANCE
Fourth-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia defeated Rebecca Marino of Canada 7-6 (4), 6-3 to reach the second round of the Strasbourg International on Monday.
Petrova has struggled on clay so far this season and lost first round-matches both in Madrid and Rome.
Petrova next plays either Alize Cornet or Sania Mirza.
Maria Kirilenko of Russia and Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, the No. 5 and No. 6 seeded players respectively, also advanced.