The U.S. Davis Cup team chose Taco Bell Arena for its quarterfinal tie against Serbia to make world No. 1 Novak Djokovic uncomfortable.
And it worked - ever so briefly.
American John Isner recorded an early service break in the opening match Friday, adding a deficit to Djokovic's thoughts of altitude and nearly 140-mph serves.
But Isner gave it back quickly, and Djokovic never was in serious trouble again.
Djokovic won 7-6 (5), 6-2, 7-5 with efficient serving, impeccable ground strokes and an opportunistic approach to attacking Isner's famed serve.
"After the first set he became a lot more comfortable. That's what it looked like to me," Isner said. "He started playing really well. I think the mistake on my part was I got off to a good start. I just had to do my best to hold on to that little lead that I had. I let him back in it."
Djokovic said the stakes - the strong Serbian crowd tells you how seriously they take this in his homeland - and the altitude - this is the highest place he has competed - put him on edge in the match's first moments.
"I felt pressure on the serve," he said. "I needed to win my service games comfortably because I knew I was not going to get many chances on his service game," he said.
Isner took a 2-1 lead in the first set with the early break. He gave it back by losing four straight points, including a double fault and two forehand errors, in the sixth game.
In the tiebreaker, Isner missed a forehand on his first service point - the only point the serving player didn't win and all the wiggle room Djokovic needed.
"It was very important to get a set advantage," Djokovic said. "These kind of matches are very intense and there is a lot at stake. You're playing for your country. You get more involved with the emotions and you really want to start well; you want to bring the first point to Serbia. So I was a little bit nervous at the start."
Djokovic pounced on Isner's serve in the second set, limiting him to one ace and breaking him twice. Isner returned to his powerhouse ways in the third set, but Djokovic broke him at love at 5-5.
Isner finished with 17 aces and 49 percent of his serves were not returned. That didn't bother Djokovic, the world's top defensive player.
"In this kind of match, it's important to stay in the moment and believe in your abilities, in your return game," Djokovic said. "My return has been serving me quite well in the last few years on the tour. So I knew he won't be able to serve three, four aces a game every game. So I just waited for my chances. When they were presented, I used them and used them really well."
Djokovic served well himself - putting a premium on getting his first serve in play. He had five aces but 37 unreturned serves.
And he was dynamic with his ground strokes. He committed just 10 unforced errors - compared to 37 for Isner - and repeatedly passed the 6-foot-10 American when he came to the net.
Isner felt pressure to go for the quick winner knowing he couldn't survive a baseline battle.
"He gets to a lot of balls," Isner said. " Outside of that (there were) just returns of serve where I felt like I hit a pretty good serve and it comes back. His hands are so quick, and he stands in on the baseline and he was able to get my serve back. That caused me a lot of trouble."
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat