Great Britain defeat the USA 3-2 in the Davis Cup
The era of team Great Britain being considered underachievers in world tennis could be over after they managed to reach the quarterfinals after defeating the USA 3-2. In the city of his birth an emotional Andy Murray managed to fend off a ferocious challenge from American giant John Isner to secure the victory. To the deafening acclaim of Glasgow’s Emirates Arena the former SW19 champion survived a tough opening set to win 7-6 6-3 7-6 against the world number 20 to wrap up the tie with his second point. Against one of the best servers ever seen in tennis Murray’s coolness in the tiebreaks was the key, as was his ability to save seven break points in the opening set. ‘It was a great win for the team, everyone played their part,’ said Murray. ‘Togetherness was a key, everyone was pulling in the same direction. I managed to find a way through the first set. I was over complicating my service games at first and he was going for broke on the first point of every rally.”
GB are through to the elite World Group quarter finals for the second year in succession and now face a home tie against France, 3-0 winners over Germany, immediately after Wimbledon in July. If on grass it is likely to be held somewhere like Eastbourne or Nottingham, but if they opted for an indoor court it would likely come back to Scotland, as the fans here have been outstanding in this match. “If everyone plays to their abilities we have the chance to win more matches. We don’t have huge margin for error but if Wardy (James Ward) plays like he did on Friday, we have a chance, although France have huge strength in depth.”
This match turned out to be remarkably similar to last year’s World Group first round against the same opponents: Ward upset the American number one on the first day, before the Bryans pulled the doubles point back for the USA and then Murray finished it off with his second singles win. Isner once beat Roger Federer in an away match against Switzerland so is no shrinking violet in the cauldron of Davis Cup competition and British Captain Leon Smith, low profile but with an excellent record in this job, knew that he could be a danger. That did not take long to be confirmed and the 6′ 10’ American, revelling in his underdog status unlike on Friday against Ward, came out swinging. A more under pressure was a little hesitant and he had to fend off seven break points in total before the tiebreak, once at 1-2, three times at 3-4 and three more times at 4-5. Isner twice took enormous forehand cuts and shaky second serves and will have been massively frustrated not to have taken the lead. His serve was as potent as ever but, crucially, he double faulted at the start of the tiebreak and after that Murray clung on to his lead to clinch it 7-4, a massive psychological blow as he had been outplayed. A brilliant backhand lob at 3-2 in the second set secured the key break there, but to give Isner his due he kept fighting to take it to second tiebreak. Murray went ahead 6-2 and then finally finished it with a swinging serve ace at 6-4 to complete his weekend’s work and lead GB to the next round. A top tennis prediction has France slightly favourites but on grass and with an in-form Murray, anything can happen.