Andy & Jamie Murray beat Steve Darcis & David Goffin 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-2
Andy Murray plays David Goffin in the first of the reverse singles
GHENT, BELGIUM – Andy & Jamie Murray defeat Steve Darcis & David Goffin to put Britain 2-1 in the lead going into the final day of the Davis Cup Final.
After the great reveal (repeated) the revised team of Darcis and Belgian No. 1 Goffin took to the court to face the Brothers Murray. There was much more of a party atmosphere than perhaps the business-like approach to yesterday, as the fans had really gone to town, sea of red, white, blue and a veritable orchestra of instruments.
It perhaps posed a risk to Belgians but you would never have thought it from the early exchanges in rallies. Even after a nerve-jangling double-faulted start from Jamie Murray, his ability to paint a line in a gap saved the fluttering of British hearts early on, as the battleground for the early advantage started to be forged.
For the post-injury Darcis who came into this with a lack of match practice going back to Stockholm in October, it was at least as long a hold as the elder Murray sibling, but baby brother was having no such issue on his serve, once again rocketing through his service game.
Neither pairing was giving an inch, and the nerve hopefully settled for Jamie Murray and Darcis with a more comfortable holds the second time out as we got to the business end of the first set. So it was with some surprise that the first danger moments came on Andy Murray’s serve, dropping 0/30 and then having to dig himself out of a whole to save the first break point of match.
So imagine the irony when the stronger of the Belgians also faced the same predicament, and perhaps the Brits were aided and abetted by the closest of line calls, but it was enough to give them a single set point for the first set 64.
Once more, early in the second set, it was doubles specialist Jamie Murray who faced danger on his serve and some beautifully measured work at the net from both brothers dragged them back to deuce, only for a double-fault along the way to pitch them into an early break.
Goffin was on fire, as he bailed out the weaker Darcis to keep their nose enough in front to put more pressure on the Brits as the older Murray stepped up once more to keep them in contention.
Once more with just a single break in it, the Belgians served the second set out to love to bring about a straight best of three shoot out. That momentum would stay with them as again Murray senior struggled on his serve, with the added sharpness of Goffin’s returns for another early break. If Britain were gong to have any hope of staying in the match, they would have to take their chances on Darcis’ serve and despite targeting the backhand of Jamie, it was one of his trademark volleys that fired enough to give the Brits a break back.
Amidst the controversy of yet another doubted call, Goffin wavered and with some confidence returning to Jamie Murray’s game, the Brits broke for the lead. The Belgians snapped straight back at them, so it was time for the Murrays to push once more, with a third consecutive break back to love for a 5-3 lead with Andy Murray to serve, and he did not disappoint.
The sharpness at the net now between all four was exquisite, as the fourth set got underway, albeit with Murray junior having to come from 0/30 on his opening serve. It really was beginning to look a lot sharper from as they once more put Darcis under pressure, a double-fault giving Great Britain the advantage they needed to secure the early break.
Jamie Murray’s tribulations continued as he had to defend seven break points to get the consolidation. The Brits looked to close in on the weaker Darcis serve, breaking to leave Jamie Murray to serve out for the match. With perhaps the best double-teaming between the brothers in the entire match a second serve kicked up for Darcis to send wide giving the Brits a 2-1 lead in the tie.
The gamble had not paid off for the Belgian Team captain Johan Van Herck, as he admitted: “I think the experience of playing doubles together, the experience of playing doubles the whole year-round. I think we had chances, but we didn’t convert on it.”
Andy Murray, who believed that they could have still lost the doubles and been in a good position to win a 10th Davis cup said:
“It’s far from over. Even if we lost the doubles, I would have said the same thing. I still think we have a very good chance in both of the matches tomorrow. Even if I was to lose against Goffin, I think we have a very good chance in the fifth rubber, whoever plays for them.
“Obviously to be up 2-1 gives us a better chance of winning. Only having to win one of those two is better than having to win both.”
Quotes via 10sballs.com
Murray and Goffin are scheduled to play the first of the reverse singles at 1pm (12pm GMT).
Main Image Credit: Julian Finney/Getty
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