Murray and Inglot set up finale
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.