Madrid | Murray & Skupski do it again
For the second consecutive day, Britain relied on their doubles pairing to squeeze through their Davis Cup tie 2-1, a result which lifts them out of the group stage into the quarter-finals of the newly-styled World Cup of Tennis which is being held in Madrid.
I think the (German) guys are pretty similar ranked in the singles and their doubles guys had a great year, so I think it's very evenly-matched, Jamie Murray
Andy Murray was rested following his gruelling three-hour victory the previous day, a move which allowed Kyle Edmund to take over in the opening rubber in what could be seen as a gamble knowing that the team’s defeat at the hands of Kazakhstan would mean a quick return home.
However, the three-time grand slam champion and former world number one made his presence felt as he cheered his team-mates on from the player’s benches.
Meanwhile Edmund grasped his opportunity to outhit his Kazak opponent Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3 6-3 and was followed by Dan Evans who allowed another strong position against Alexander Bublik to slip into 5-7 6-4 6-1 and leave the tie in the balance.
So for a second time, Jamie Murray and his partner Neal Skupski, making his Davis Cup debut, held their nerve to outplay Bublik and Kukushkin 6-1 6-4 with an excellent display of doubles tennis.
“It was obvious that Andy wasn’t at his best on court yesterday,” said British captain Leon Smith. “It’s tough to recover from that as well and when you’ve got someone like Kyle as an option, for me it was obvious to go and use him in that situation.”
Edmund’s storming victory delighted the sizeable number of travelling fans as well as helping to silence the opposing supporters and their travelling band.
“Today I just wanted to go on court and really give it my all,” Edmund said: “It was such a buzz to thrive off this crowd. Davis Cup, playing for your country, it doesn’t get any better.”
It also left Smith a problem for the quarter-finals as to who to select as Murray’s fitness remains questionable.
“It’s not going to change huge amounts. But it’s important after five weeks of not playing any competitive tennis that you play a match.
“It wasn’t his ideal match at all, but it was a match nonetheless, and that gets you going again. And Andy is not going to be difficult to get recalling on what needs to be done.
“It’s probably quite a good thing it’s a later start tomorrow (Friday). We can talk about it tomorrow, see how things are going, obviously do some practice, see how things feel, and then we can make a decision.”
Britain’s quarterfinal opponents are Germany who are missing Alexander Zverev but still have a strong team in Philipp Kohlschreiber and fast-rising Jan-Lennard Struff, and in what could be another crucial doubles, the French Open champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies.
‘I think the guys are pretty similar ranked in the singles and their doubles guys had a great year, so I think it’s very evenly-matched,’ said Jamie Murray on looking ahead to the tie.