Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro are the two key figures for their national Davis Cup teams in the ongoing semifinal at Glasgow. Both of them have spent more than 8 hours each on the court over first two days. When the tie is over, one of them will emerge as the hero of the victorious side. GBR trailed 0-2 on Friday after losing both opening singles but reduced the deficit to 2-1 next day. Despite a fatigue-filled Friday, Andy Murray was back on Saturday with brother Jamie for the crucial doubles tie. Argentina captain Daniel Orsanic gambled in leaving out Federico Delbonis and called del Potro instead for playing with Leonardo Mayer against the Murray brothers. Orsanic’s calculations went haywire as Andy and Jamie gave GBR a lifeline with a four-set win over Argentina. Now Britain will have to win both the reverse singles on Sunday. While they can take the first, where Andy Murray plays Guido Pella, the second could be crucial. The born-again del Potro will be back to play either Kyle Edmunds or Daniel Evans. Therefore, the odds are stacked heavily against GBR but nothing can be said at this moment. At Zadar, France surprisingly lost the doubles tie to go 1-2 down in the semifinal, when Croatian team of Ivan Dodig and Marin Cilic defeated Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Pierre Hugues-Herbert in a grueling four-setter. Now like GBR, France will also need to win both reverse singles on Sunday if they have any intentions of entering the finals of this year’s Davis Cup.
Playing in front of their home crowd at Glasgow, Murray brothers Andy & Jamie, reduced Argentina’s lead to 2-1 by beating Juan Martin del Potro and Leonardo Mayer in four sets lasting 2 hours 55 minutes. While Andy Murray was expected to play the doubles, del Potro’s inclusion in the Argentinian team was a surprise. However, Argentina captain Daniel Orsanic decided to call del Potro regardless of his 5 hour duel with Murray on Friday. As the match began, Murrays raced through the first set but Andy faltered with his service in the second set and allowed Argentina to come back in the contest. But brother Jamie came to Andy’s rescue in the third and fourth sets with great net-play and Britain kept their hopes alive with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory. Sunday’s reverse singles will be crucial for both teams. Andy Murray plays first with Guido Pella and assuming Murray beats Pella, the second tie between del Potro and the other British player will become crucial. GBR’s captain has yet to decide between Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans.
In the Croatian city of Zadar, Saturday’s doubles tie was closely fought between Croatia’s Ivan Dodig/Marin Cilic and Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut/Pierre Hugues-Herbert. Mahut and Herbert are the world’s no.1 ranked pair and they were fresh from their recent US Open victory. But Dodig/Cilic disregarded all that and put up a great fight against the favorites. The Frenchmen wasted three consecutive break points in first set before losing it on tiebreak but they bounced back in the second set with a break in 11th game. However, leveling the set scores wasn’t enough as the Croats fought hard and took the third set on tiebreak. With a 2-1 lead on sets and home crowd rooting for them, Dodig/Cilic played dominantly and allowed no leeway for the fighting Frenchmen. They finished the tie at 7-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 and put Croatia 2-1 ahead. On Sunday, Richard Gasquet will play against Marin Cilic in the first reverse singles and if he wins, the second tie between Lucas Pouille and Borna Coric will decide the fate of both teams. On cards, the Croats have a better chance of making it to the final than the visitors.
In World Group play-offs, 5 teams have already booked their entry into next year’s World Group with 3-0 results against their opponents. Belgium defeated Brazil; Australia defeated Slovakia; Canada overpowered Chile and Japan beat Ukraine. All these ties were won by host nations but Spain defeated India 3-0 away from home at New Delhi. On Sunday, India’s fate was sealed, when Rio Olympic gold-medal winners Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez defeated the Indian pair of Leander Paes and Saketh Myneni 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4. The other three ties involving Uzbekistan/Switzerland, Germany/Poland and Russia/Kazakhstan are yet to be decided.
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