Ros Satar, in Glasgow
- Great Britain def. Argentina 6-1 3-6 6-4 6-4
GLASGOW, UK – Andy and Jamie Murray kept Great Britain’s hopes in the Davis Cup alive with a four set win, to set up a thrilling finish.
The initial training session yielded no clues – Jamie was hitting with coach Louis Cayer with Liam Broady and Dom Inglot across the net, but as the witching hour of nominations drew closer, the inevitable announcement that Andy Murray would be joining forces once more with his big brother.
What was perhaps more of a surprise was the sight of Juan Martin Del Potro in a fetching pair of board shorts hitting at the allotted time of practice. Having joked that his whole body had been cramping after what had been his longest match, it was a surprise to see him out on court, and even more so that he would be partnering Leonardo Mayer and not the Argentine No. 1 Federico Delbonis.
The minute it became clear that Del Potro would be in the doubles team, the plan was clear from the Argentines to wrap up the tie today, pushing Andy back up the selection list.
Sure enough fans arriving early were treated to Andy Murray coming out for a hit with Dan Evans ahead of the main event.
The start was full of rapid fire set pieces that Cayer is such a master at crafting for his doubles squads as the Brits roared out to a 5-0 lead, putting the pressure firmly on Mayer to hold to prevent a bagel. Hold he did, but all it did was delay the inevitable as Jamie Murray dinked a shot over the net to wrap up the first set in just 26 minutes.
Now it would come down to which of Friday’s warriors would be the more fatigued and with Andy Murray beginning to struggle under the weight of shots thundering across from the baseline, it was the Argentineans who grabbed the initiative as they sprang into a 4-1 lead, warming up quite nicely at the net with some nifty volleying of their own.
Some especially big serving from Del Potro took them to 1-1 as at the start of the third set was a lot more competitive. The visitors got the first breakthrough as suddenly Jamie Murray seemed to find the net more than own it.
Their response however was to break straight back and that was the momentum that they needed and suddenly Andy Murray was back in the game, drilling a return straight down the line to break for the third set.
Perhaps as the fourth set wound through, just the Brits had one look at a break point in the second game with no quarter given until the final game of the match. Mayer’s serve had always seemed the most vulnerable of the pair, and so it proved with a break to love.
It is always emotional when the Murrays return to Scotland, and of course there was an added poignancy to their return this time.
Talking on court after the match, it was evident how much it meant to Jamie in particular as his voice cracked, saying: “It’s better for me to play with him in a Scottish crowd, it was quite emotional (voice cracks, hugs Andy)
“You know we played a great match. It was exciting for me that Juan martin played the match. For me it’s exciting to play against the best layers in the world.
You know it was a battle, those guys hit so hard from the baseline it was really difficult to volley and judge the ball. We did a great job.”
Did the risk pay off for the Argentineans? GB Captain, Leon Smith, also speaking on court felt the tie was more than just alive.
He said: look, everyone’s tired – it’s that stage of the season. Everyone’s the same but if there’s someone you want going out for your first match to get a rubber on the board it’s Andy Murray.”
Murray has one more push and obviously goes into his match up with Guido Pella as the favourite to level the tie, and whoever is put in for the final rubber will be in far fresher legs that the resurgent (but flagging?) Del Potro who now has eight hours of tennis in those legs.
The final day of the GB v Argentina tie will start at 1pm BST.
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