Commentary

United States primed to end Davis Cup drought

With Andy Roddick playing twice and an almost an unbeatable doubles team, one would have to think the United States will be a heavy favorite to win the Davis Cup final.

Originally Published: November 29, 2007
By Keith Hawkins | ESPN.com

With Andy Roddick, you have a player who is the ultimate closer in Davis Cup. With the Bryan brothers, you get the best doubles team on the planet. Add James Blake's perfect record against Russia's No. 1 player (he's also 5-0 against Igor Andreev) and you have to like the United States' chances of winning the Davis Cup title for the 32nd time. But Team USA will have to knock off a Russian squad that is the defending champion and has won Davis Cup twice in the last five years.

Here are the facts and statistics you need to know about this year's Davis Cup final, which starts Friday in Portland, Ore.

1 -- Sets lost in the last two years by the Bryan brothers. Bob and Mike Bryan have won six straight matches since suffering their lone Davis Cup loss in 2005 to Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia.

Marat Safin

Safin

2 -- Wins by Marat Safin this year in Davis Cup play. Safin, who is not on Russia's final roster, clinched the quarterfinal tie against France with a straight-sets win over Paul-Henri Mathieu in the fifth rubber.

3 -- Russian captain Shamil Tarpischev is looking for this third straight team championship. Prior to leading the Fed Cup team to a title this season -- defeating Italy 4-0 -- Tarpischev and the Russians won the Davis Cup last year thanks to a fifth and deciding rubber won by Safin.

4 -- Number of different countries that have won the Davis Cup in the last four years: Russia, 2006; Croatia, 2005; Spain, 2004; Australia, 2003.

5 -- Russia has needed the fifth and decisive rubber to advance in each of the first three rounds this year: Igor Andreev def. Chile's Nicolas Massu in the first round; Safin def. France's Mathieu in the quarters and Andreev def. Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber in the semifinals.

5a -- Number of consecutive finals the United States has won on home soil. Australia is the last team to beat the Americans in a final played in the United States (1973 in Cleveland).

Bryan brothers

Bryan brothers

6 -- When losing the doubles point, the U.S. is just 6-22 in the final round.

7 -- Wins, without a loss, that the Bryan brothers have in Davis Cup matches played indoors. Overall, they are 12-1 in Davis Cup play.

8 -- Number of wins the United States has in the final round since the current Davis Cup format was implemented in 1972. However, in that span, they have also lost five times.

1997-98 -- The last time a country repeated as Davis Cup champions. Sweden beat the United States in 1997 and Italy in 1998.

Andy Roddick

Roddick

9-0 -- Roddick's record in Davis Cup matches when he has a chance to clinch a round for the United States.

10 -- Number of tie losses the United States has on indoor surfaces. The good news, though, is that they have won 28 times. Their 28-10 record is far better than the Russian's 17-13 indoor record.

11 -- There's a reason why Nikolay Davydenko wasn't penciled in to play singles. He is a combined 0-11 versus Roddick and Blake in his career. In five matches against Roddick, Davydenko has won just one set. Against Blake, he has won two sets in six matches.

12 -- The United States has not won Davis Cup since their 1995 win over Russia in the World Group final. The current 12-year span is the longest period in which the U.S. has gone without winning the event.

Keith Hawkins is the tennis editor for ESPN.com. Some statistics are courtesy of the U.S. Davis Cup media guide.