By Niall Clarke
- Andy and Jamie Murray defeat Sam Groth and Lleyton Hewitt 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.
- The brothers were on court for three hours and 56 minutes
- Great Britain lead 2-1 in the tie heading into the final day.
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND- The Murray brothers battled to a five set victory over Australia’s Sam Groth and Lleyton Hewitt to give Great Britain a vital 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup semi-finals.
Despite dropping the first set, Jamie and Andy came back to defeat Australia 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 in three hours and 56 minutes.
Andy will now play Bernard Tomic in fourth rubber where a victory will seal Great Britain’s place in the Davis Cup final.
The Groth/Hewitt combination started out the match in fine form, particularly Groth who was making big serves and returns to put the British pair under pressure. The Aussies would break Jamie’s serve to establish an early advantage, and Groth would have the opportunity to serve the set out at 5-4. After a controversial call to award the point to after hawk eye ruled a Groth serve in, GB found themselves with two break back points. But a few big serves later, including a 141MPH unreturnable, Australia took the first set 6-4.
The second set began very tight with neither team willing to give an inch. The fans rallied behind the Murray’s as they attempted to level the score, and through the roar of the Glasgow crowd they secured a break of serve. Andy would then serve out the set to love to level the score at one set all.
The Aussies hit back right away, going a break up in the third set. Groth’s powerful backhand proved too much for Andy to control. It looked like the travellers would go two sets to one up when they led 4-1, but a miraculous five game turnaround ended up swinging the favour.
Australia were left to rue missed chances a 4-2 when they were broken back. The momentum was with the brothers, and it would be Jamie who sealed the break with an easy smash put away. Andy would successfully serve out the set to give Great Britain a 2-1 lead.
In the fourth, Australia would once again strike early. Jamie was broken after a half volley hit the net. The lead wouldn’t last long however as Britain were able to break back straight away.
Britain were put under considerable pressure at 4-5 with Jamie going 0-40 down on serve, but they managed to save the set points and the match was still firmly poised at 5-5.
Instead it would be Great Britain who would make the crucial breakthrough at 5-5 to put themselves within one service game of taking a 2-1 lead in the tie. However, Hewitt’s fighting spirit came to the fore and Australia kept their hopes alive by breaking back from 30-0 down to take us to a tiebreak.
It was a tense and nervy tiebreak that saw Great Britain lead 5-4 on serve, but it was Australia that would take the set after saving match point after a missed volley by the Murray’s.
It would need a fifth set to decide the outcome of this one, and the pressure began to grow on Groth. The 27 year old struggled and was broken after missing three volleys and hitting a double fault. The Aussies broke back to 15 to take us into a tense closing few games of the match.
It would be Groth yet again who felt the pressure, only this time at the crucial 4-5 game. The Aussie would find himself match points down on serve, only this time it could not be saved. A volley went long and Great Britain rejoiced as they sealed a five set victory.
Often in the Davis Cup, the doubles rubber becomes the most crucial tie, and it was certainly the case here. Team GB now lead the tie 2-1 with Murray to face Tomic first tomorrow in a match that could seal a place in the Davis Cup final.
The younger of the Murray brothers will now turns his attentions to the fourth singles rubber, or will he?
“I think I’ll let Dom play the singles tomorrow… see how it goes,” The world number three joked. (Source: Tennis Atlantic)
“The longer the match, the less time to recover and the harder to recover. Physically it’s tough but also emotionally matches like that are draining as well.
“I don’t think enough is made of that, they are very tough matches to play, lots of ups and downs, and chances for both teams, but try and recover as best as I can.”
Hewitt spoke of the up’s and downs of doubles tennis.
“You know all Davis Cup doubles are a lot of ebbs and flows in a five set match, especially on that kind of surface,” said the former world number one. (Source: Tennis Atlantic)
“It’s on the slower side court, so there’s gonna be ups and downs, there’s gonna be breaks of serves. You know we obviously fought off some break points early in the first set, was able to get that set.
“Second set, we couldn’t quite get into their service games as much then obviously had an early break in the third. Got a little bit unlucky actually to give the break back, where they hit some net cords and then you know obviously we just kept fighting and digging deep when they served for the match in the fourth, really close tiebreak.
“In the fifth again we were down a break, came back and then obviously got broken again. So especially Davis Cup doubles over five sets, it sometimes can only rely on one or two points.”
Murray will face Tomic at 1PM tomorrow in the fourth rubber.