Mur­ray must pick up where he left off if GB are to pre­vail

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FINAL SAY - SI­MON CAM­BERS

BRI­TAIN’S hopes of reach­ing the quar­ter-fi­nals of the Davis Cup are likely to de­pend on the state of mind – and body – of Andy Mur­ray to­day as they try to over­turn an early deficit against Italy in Naples.

Trail­ing 1-0 af­ter James Ward’s valiant four-set de­feat by Italy’s star turn, Fabio Fognini, Mur­ray was leading An­dreas Seppi 6-4, 5-5 when play was called off last night be­cause of bad light, rain hav­ing caused a lengthy de­lay ear­lier in the day.

Mur­ray, who had to save four set points in the fad­ing light, will re­sume WARD: ‘play­ing way ahead of his rank­ing’ ac­cord­ing to Leon Smith his match with Seppi at 09.30 BST, fac­ing a quick turn­around if he is to play dou­bles, with his re­verse sin­gles against Fognini to come to­mor­row.

Cap­tain Leon Smith ad­mit­ted it will come down to how Mur­ray feels as to whether he plays dou­bles, most likely with fel­low Scot Colin Flem­ing. If not, Flem­ing and reg­u­lar dou­bles part­ner Ross Hutchins will team up.

“It was a long, tough, chal­leng­ing day,” Smith ad­mit­ted. “We’d rather be sit­ting here 1-1, Andy done and dusted and able to rest in the morn­ing. It’s not go­ing to be easy but Andy’s in the driv­ing seat now. It should be live­lier con­di­tions so not phys­i­cally too de­mand­ing. Then it’s about hav­ing a dis­cus­sion with Andy and the rest of the team to see what we do about the dou­bles.”

Hav­ing strug­gled in the build-up to the tie with a stomach ill­ness that caused him to skip prac­tice on Wed­nes­day, Mur­ray looked strong against Seppi, re­cov­er­ing from 4-2 down in the sec­ond set be­fore sav­ing the four set points on serve at 4-5.

The key ques­tion for Mur­ray is whether he is able, and will­ing, to play all three rub­bers.

On a damp day at Ten­nis Club Napoli, right on the Bay of Naples with Mount Ve­su­vius loom­ing in the back­ground, and on a court that cut up badly at the back on one side, Mur­ray had to wait sev­eral hours be­fore get­ting on. Ward, whose hero­ics in the first-round win over the United States in San Diego had been piv­otal in Bri­tain reach­ing the last eight for the first time since 1986, per­formed ad­mirably again as he pushed Fognini to four sets be­fore go­ing down 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.

“I am very proud of James, “Smith said. “His level again was way ahead of his rank­ing and if he plays a de­cid­ing rub­ber, he should take a lot of con­fi­dence into that.”

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