Murray Brothers Give Team GB a 2-1 Lead in Davis Cup Action vs. Australia
Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
With the tie between Great Britain and Australia poised at 1-1, many thought that doubles could be the deciding factor. Originally it was scheduled to be Sam Groth and Lleyton Hewitt vs Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot. But as expected Andy Murray was drafted in to partner his brother again the Aussies.
The Brits were the team to earn the first break point opportunities on the Hewitt serve, but they were well saved the Australian pair. Instead it would be Jamie’s serve that would be broken, as a Groth inspired Australia dealt the first blow.
The crowd rallied behind the Brits to get a break back, but they were fast running out of chances with Groth serving for the set. 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 was tight in the opening stages with neither team offering up an early break point. However, GB would find themselves with an opportunity in the sixth game of the set, and it would be taken as the big serve of Groth was finally broken. It would be left to Andy to serve out the set, and so he did as his brother Jamie buried an easy volley to level the score.
The Aussies would bounced back early in the second with an early break to establish a 2-0 lead. A Groth backhand was too much to handle for Andy after an excellent return by Hewitt set up the break point opportunity. The lead was whipped out though as Australia were made to rue some mistakes in the seventh game. It was back on serve at 4-3.
Soon the pressure was on the Aussie’s as GB earned break point at 4-4, but Andy missed a backhand and the chance went begging. After a missed volley from Hewitt, the Murray’s would receive a second chance at a break, and this time they would not be denied. Jamie put away the smash and all of a sudden the tide had turned in favour of Great Britain. 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. Australia would earn two opportunities to re-take the lead in the fourth set, getting to 15-40 on the Jamie serve. But both break points were saved and Great Britain held under the pressure. The older brother would continue to struggle on serve at 4-5 and the Aussies would soon find themselves with three set points to level the match. They were all saved by Great Britain who levelled the score at 5-5 taking us to the deep waters.
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.
The Brits opened the final set with a hold, and after a poor game from Groth which saw him miss three volleys and double fault, the brothers Murray were back ahead. It wasn’t over yet though as the Groth/Hewitt combination broke back to 15. Australia were put back under pressure immediately and faced more break points with Groth screaming ‘I can’t hold’. But the 27 year old did manage to hang on to his serve and we were even again at 3-3.
The Murray’s managed to get to 5-4 to put some scoreboard pressure on the already tight Groth serve, and it proved to be all too much for the Aussie’s who lost serve to lose the match in five sets.
Great Britain pulled through in three hours and 56 minutes to defeat Australia 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 and give themselves a vital 2-1 lead heading into the 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.
“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.
“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.”