Andy Murray is leading from front. He was the key man in the quarterfinals against the French and he has reached within one match of the semifinal victory for Great Britain against Australia. British captain Leon Smith changed the pecking order for Saturday’s doubles game by replacing Dominic Inglot with Andy Murray and the brothers justified his decision in the end. It was an emotionally draining match for the brothers, who were cheered all the way by an expectedly partisan crowd at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. Britain now needs just one victory in Sunday’ reverse singles to make it to the Davis Cup finals after 37 years. Once again, onus has fallen on Andy Murray to make that happen. In the other semifinal between Belgium and Argentina at Brussels, Argentina’s doubles team of Leonardo Mayer and Carlos Berlocq scored a tight four-set win over Belgium’s Rubel Bemelmans and Steve Darcis. Thus, the situation in both semifinals at the end of doubles’ rubbers has become the same. Like Britain, Argentina have also inched to within one victory for the final berth.
Britain’s captain decided that Andy Murray would partner his brother Jamie in Saturday’s doubles rubber against Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth. The 8000-strong Glaswegian fans never stopped being voluble while watching local boys Andy and Jamie play for GBR in their own city. The vociferous support was not enough because the two Murray brothers had to deal with Hewitt’s endless willpower and Sam Groth’s fiery service. The Murrays lost the first set and the fourth before coming through in four hours and five sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4. As the match began, it seemed Hewitt/Groth had more punch than Murrays as they took the first set. This was one moment at the Emirates Arena, when the home support got a bit stifled for the Murray brothers. But they jumped back into fray by taking the second set, when Groth was broken in the sixth game. Australians, however, scared the Britons by taking a 4-1 lead in the third set as Groth’s consistently thunderous service worked at around 130 mph and one touching 142 mph. However, a crucial error from Groth allowed the Murray brothers to win five games in a row and they pocketed the third set 6-4. Just as the rubber seemed to go Britain’s way at 5-4 in the fourth set with Andy Murray serving, the Australians combined well to break him. The set was taken by Hewitt/Groth on tiebreak and the decider was forced. In the final set, however, Murrays combined well and after 3 hours 52 minutes sealed the rubber in favor of Great Britain. On Sunday, Murray will take on Bernard Tomic in the first reverse singles with Dan Evans playing Thanasi Kokkinakis in the last match. The winner of the tie will face either Belgium or Argentina in the final. In the other doubles rubber of the semifinal between Belgium and Argentina at Brussels, Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer and Carlos Berlocq won a nail-biting match against Belgium’s Steve Darcis and Ruben Bemelmans 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 7-6. That gave a 2-1 lead to the Argentines before Sunday’s reverse singles. After Mayer/Berlocq took the first set, there was an unseemly controversy in the second-set tiebreaker. Instead of awarding the point to Belgium, the umpire angered the host side and the fans by ordering a point replayed. The Argentines took full advantage of the call by tying the score at 1-1 and reeling off 6 out of the next 7 points. Belgium fought back to take the third set, but Argentina sealed the victory by wrapping up the fourth set tiebreak. The South Americans need to win just one reverse singles match on Sunday, when David Goffin meets Leonardo Mayer and Steve Darcis takes on Federico Delbonis.