By Ros Satar
- Andy and Jamie Murray def. Yoshihito Nishioka and Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-3 6-2 6-4
- Andy Murray faces Kei Nishikori in the first of the reverse singles on Sunday
BIRMINGHAM, UK – The now tried and tested format of Andy and Jamie Murray beat Yoshihito Nishioka and Yasutaka Uchiyama to go 2-1 up in the Davis Cup World Group tie against Japan.
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While there was no real surprise to see the Murray brothers take to the court, the Japanese opted to eave World No. 6 Kei Nishikori out of the doubles – obviously to keep him rested for what is likely to be a tough and possibly decisive reverse singles rubber.
In their press conference after the match, the Japanese team captain Minoru Ueda said he had based his decision on the team practice, but still felt their chances were good, although he did admit that in all likelihood it would come to this clash.
In all honesty, the pressure was surely going to be on the combined World No. 2s with Murray the elder taking to the court as the newly crowned Australian Open men’s doubles champion, and early on the Japanese combo showed themselves to be more than capable of the swift cut and thrust of doubles.
The first stirrings of pressure came from the hosts as they converted on their first break point of the match, in a loose game from Nishioka as maybe nerves getting towards the business end of the match saw him throw in the first double fault.
Set point brought a fist pump from the younger Murray on the way to consolidating the first set for the second time of asking, as they wrapped up the first set in a little over half an hour.
That momentum stayed with the hosts as they broke the visitors in the first game of the second set, as some deft touches at the net from Jamie Murray sealed the consolidation.
With the Brits turning the screw, another break made it look like a long way back for the visitors as Britain wrapped up set two.
It was time for the brothers to be business-like to finish things off. Despite some very nimble footwork, and some great exchanges at the net Japan never had a sniff of a break point against the Brothers Murray in the whole match, and as Britain broke to set Andy Murray to serve for the match, there was at last a feeling that he had his eye in. His serving had been pretty much spot on, and his movement and touch at the net was on point.
Andy Murray said, after the match: “Obviously nice to win the match quite quickly. Even though yesterday’s match wasn’t long, it does add up if you are out there for two or three hours, and if tomorrow’s goes long as well, it’s good to have all the energy for tomorrow’s match and know I won’t be sore.
“For me it probably helps, [because] I haven’t played for five weeks Kei has played Memphis and Acapulco, so he’s played a bunch the last few weeks whereas I haven’t. So it helps me to get my eye in a little bit on returns and get a bit more serving. I served extremely well today and hopefully can do the same tomorrow.”
The scene is now set for a possibly decisive rubber to start off the proceedings when play resumes at the Barclaycard Arena at 1pm, GMT.
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