Mur­ray and In­glot set up fi­nale

The Observer - Sport - - Sport - Kevin Mitchell

Great Bri­tain, still liv­ing on the vapours of their 2015 Davis Cup tri­umph, are one win from se­cur­ing a pre­cious seed­ing in the qual­i­fy­ing rounds of the re­vamped 2019 tour­na­ment af­ter Jamie Mur­ray and Do­minic In­glot fell over the line in the dou­bles against Uzbek­istan here in Glas­gow. It took them just un­der three hours to crack the re­sis­tance of the es­timable vet­eran De­nis Is­tomin – back­ing up af­ter los­ing to Dan Evans in four hours and 11 min­utes on Fri­day – and the world No 448, San­jar Fayziev, 4- 6, 7- 6 ( 8), 6- 2, 6- 3.

Cameron Nor­rie plays Is­tomin in the fi rst re­verse sin­gles to­day and Evans faces J urabek Ka­ri­mov, who upset Nor­rie on day one. That is a form line that oozes un­cer­tainty. Is­tomin, 32, will be ex­hausted but has given ster­ling ser­vice to his coun­try with 48 wins over 13 years.

The Great Bri­tain cap­tain, Leon Smith, said: “I’ve a lot of re­spect for De­nis com­ing out and play­ing dou­bles ; back­ing up to­mor­row won’t be easy. That’s the great thing about hav­ing a spe­cial­ist dou­bles team.”

How­ever, to lose from 2- 1 up against Uzbek­istan, who took Switzer­land to a fifth rub­ber two years ago in the most re­cent of nine con­sec­u­tive losses in play- off fi nals, would rep­re­sent a ma­jor set­back for Great Bri­tain – es­pe­cially in the ab­sence of Andy Mur­ray and Kyle Ed­mund, the for­mer still patch­ing up his in­jured hip, the lat­ter opt­ing to pre­pare for this week’s Laver Cup in Chicago.

The crowd looked to have swelled to re­spectabil­ity af­ter thin pres­ence on day one, which stretched into the late evening with two long, tense fi ve- set­ters. The ten­sion lin­gered on day two and Mur­ray said: “We were so close to be­ing two sets down but played re­ally well the last two sets.”

As for his brother’s video mes­sage at the start of the tie, when he re­gret­ted not be­ing able to play in what he feared might be the last Davis Cup match in Glas­gow, Mur­ray said: “It’s still go­ing to be home and away in Fe­bru­ary and we could be back here one more time. So, you shouldn’t lis­ten to ev­ery­thing Andy says. The team love com­ing back here. It’s our only chance to play world- class ten­nis in Scot­land.”

But it could have gone hor­ri­bly wrong yes­ter­day . Mur­ray was bro­ken early and he came un­der pres­sure with ball in hand for much of the fi rst cou­ple of sets. In­glot’s big serve was as solid as a rock most of the time as they slowly re- es­tab­lished co­her­ent pat­terns of court ge­og­ra­phy af­ter a long time apart. In­glot fi nished the job on a sec­ond match point when he forced a fi nal, weary re­sponse on the base­line from Fayziev.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.