SAN DIEGO, USA: For the first time in 28 years the British have worked their way into the Davis Cup World Group quarterfinal tie.
Andy Murray was responsible for returning Great Britain to the quarterfinals when he clinched the first round tie against USA at Petco Park in San Diego with a 76 (5) 67 (3) 61 63 win over Sam Querrey in the fourth rubber of the weekend.
Great Britain heads back home with a 3-1 win over USA and an appointment against Italy, in Italy, in the quarterfinals. This was the first time since 1935 that the British have secured a Davis Cup tie over the USA — USA still leads Britain 11-8 in their Davis Cup head-to-head.
“The thing is it's been fun,” Murray said. “I think everyone enjoys the position that they're in. That's very important. There's a lot of sort of motivation there, and great attitude among everyone that's part of the team.”
Murray set Britain on their winning ways by making quick work of Donald Young 61 62 63 in the first rubber on Friday. James Ward upset Sam Querrey in a 16 76(3) 36 64 61 win in Friday’s second rubber to give Great Britain a 2-0 lead after the first day of competition.
On Saturday, Bob and Mike Bryan held up to their status as the world’s best doubles team by giving the US a 62 63 36 61 win over Colin Fleming and Dominic Inglot. The doubles point secured, it still meant the British would go into Sunday with a 2-1 lead.
“Obviously the whole team is delighted, not because we beat the US team, but just because of where we're at right now,” said British captain Leon Smith. “Seems a little bit surreal. One of the guys in the team room showed me the BBC website and it's us getting ready for the quarterfinal match in the World Group. It's great for all of us. It's great for British tennis as well.”
The fifth rubber that was scheduled to be played between James Ward against American Donald Young was abandoned since it the British win had been determined.
The first two sets of the match went the distance to tiebreakers.
In the first set, Murray was up a break twice — at 2-0 and 5-3 — but couldn’t turn back the American until 5-5 in the tiebreaker when he won the final two points of the set.
In the second set, there were no service breaks, leaving Querrey two set points when ahead 6-2 in the tiebreaker. A forehand crosscourt winner on the second set point evened the score to one set apiece.
“He started playing some really good tennis at the end of the first set, playing very aggressive, and I had to change my tactics at the end of the second set after I lost it,” said Murray, who started going for more first serves into Querrey’s body. “That made a big difference.”
Murray raced to a 4-0 lead in the third set before Querrey held serve to win his lone game in that set. From 2-2 in the fourth set, Murray won four of the final five games played. Murray finished the match with a forehand crosscourt winner.
Despite losing the match, Querrey was far happier with his performance against Murray than his loss to Ward on Friday.
“I feel good,” Querrey said. “He’s one of the best players in the world, one of maybe the first or second best defensive players in the world. I felt like he had to come up with some good shots today to beat me. Overall, I felt like played well and made him hit those shots to beat me.”
US Captain Jim Courier, one of the most competitive players in his days on tour, also knows when he’s been beaten and accepted the loss gracefully.
“First, obviously, we should congratulate the Brits on a tie well-played,” Courier said. “We went out and laid it on the line. We gave our best effort all the way through.”
The weekend conclusion — the British players and staff all in a huddle, arms around each other, jumping up-and-down with joy.
Follow this tie as it happens: Live Scores or Watch Live
Andy Murray (GBR) - 02/02/2014
Captain Leon Smith (GBR) - 02/02/2014
Sam Querrey (USA) - 02/02/2014
Captain Jim Courier (USA) - 02/02/2014