After helping the United States out to an early 2-0 lead against Brazil in the first round of the Davis Cup, John Isner fell to Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci on Sunday in five grueling sets, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (9-7), 4-6, 3-6.
Isner and teammate Sam Querrey gave the United States two victories in the opening singles matches on Friday to put the United States just one win away from advancing to the quarterfinals. But after the Bryan brothers fell on Saturday to Brazil's doubles duo of Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares, it came to Querrey and Isner to deliver.
After claiming the first set easily, Isner was unable to replicate the dominance of the opening frame, as Bellucci evened the match. Forcing a third-set tiebreaker, Isner was able to take what looked like a key 2-1 lead in sets behind eight aces and 23 winners in the third set.
But Bellucci kept Isner from converting his advantages in aces and winners into wins in either of the final two sets. Isner's 19 unforced errors in the deciding fifth set likely doomed the American's attempt to clinch the victory for the United States.
Querrey will now face off against Thiago Alves, who Isner beat handily in Jacksonville, in a decisive rubber match. Querrey will look to save the American team from squandering the 2-0 lead he and Isner helped to build.