By Ros Satar
- Andy and Jamie Murray beat Nicolas Mahut and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6 6-3 7-6(5) 6-1
- Andy Murray could face either Gilles Simon or Richard Gasquet in the fourth rubber
London, UK – Andy and Jamie Murray caused double-trouble for the French as they beat the visitors in four sets to set GB up with a 2-1 lead going into the final day.
There had been much speculation since Andy Murray leveled the tie on Friday as to whether he would play. Team captain Leon Smith had asserted that it would always be a team decision, and Murray himself admitted last night that he would need to be very honest about how fatigued he might be feeling after what has been a long and grueling European tour.
The to-ing and fro-ing around the possible permutations kept Twitter and the media centre busy until a little after 12pm, especially as the day started with Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot practicing, before Andy came out a little later to practice on a separate court.
The decision was made that it would be Murray/Murray to face a French team of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (who had never lost a doubles rubber when playing for France) and Nicolas Mahut.
At the start of the match it looked as though the decision might even backfire, as the British No. 1 struggled to get going, getting broken in his opening service game at the very start of the match, and relying for the large part on Jamie to do the business at the net.
The French held onto their first set advantage with ease, but it was not long before the Brits managed to earn their first break point of the match, taking it in the second set, and leveling, much to an enthusiastic crowd’s delight.
There was a bit more drama to unfold though, as another awkward slip for Murray saw him roll along the ground clutching his groin and requiring a medical timeout. The pair hung on though in the third set to force a tight tie-break. Clinching that resulted in yet more Proclaimers being belted out by the DJ and a 2-1 lead.
Maybe that was enough to throw the French, who quickly fell 0-5 behind, and although they salvaged a game and even a break point as Jamie was serving for the match, it was not enough, as the Wimbledon men’s doubles runner up slapped the winner home to send Britain into the final day 2-1 up.
Jamie was understandably cheerful, and did the lion’s share of the chat, saying: “I think the crowd were great from first to the last point. Obviously that tie-break proved critical. I don’t really even remember much about it to be honest other than Andy getting that serve back and Mahut diving, and turning round and seeing Andy six feet off the ground. But you know, that’s the thing [about] home support – it’s brilliant to have it and I think as long as we’re playing home ties, everyone that’s coming to watch us should be there and cheering as loud as they can and trying to help the players, because it does really help us to perform as best we possibly can.”
Andy, on the other hand now faces the prospect of a potentially long match standing between him and a few days of well earned rest before the start of the US hard court season.
He said: “[I’ve] got to make sure tonight conserve as much energy as possible, go back, recover properly. Get a good night’s sleep and hopefully come out tomorrow and feel good when I get up. Obviously right now after that match, it’s hard not to feel good.
“But I’ve also played matches where you do have a massive high, a massive adrenalin rush during the match and in the evening you can feel quite fatigued as well. I’ve been through that before. Just deal with whatever cards I’m dealt tomorrow when I wake up and hopefully play a good match.”
French team captain Arnaud Clement’s options are now to substitute Richard Gasquet in for either of his two players. Murray is slated to face Gilles Simon in the reverse singles, with Tsonga to face James Ward in a possibly decisive fifth rubber.
The final day of the tie continues at 12:30pm BST on Sunday.