Murray/Fleming Steer Great Britain to 2-1 Lead in Davis Cup Playoffs

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Andy Murray (Profile) took to the court once again for Great Britain, as he attempted to secure a 2-1 lead in the doubles match. With nothing separating the two teams heading into the third rubber, it was vital for both doubles teams to perform at their best. The world no. 3 partnered with Colin Fleming (Profile) to offer the Great Britain Davis Cup team the greatest advantage possible and successfully defeated their Croatian counterparts 63, 62, 67, 61.

Murray and Fleming almost made history as the first Briton team to win a Masters 1000 doubles title, when they teamed up last month at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. The duo even beat eventual US Open champions Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek en route to their first doubles final. Even though they eventually lost 6-4, 7-6 to the No 3 seeds, Austria’s Alexander Peya and Brazil’s Bruno Soares, it was an inspiring performance by a duo that entered the tournament as a part of a last-minute decision.

The British team got off to a spectacular start as they forced a break point and shot to a 3-0 lead in the opening frames.  The Croatian team, led by Ivan Dodig, struggled to hold serve for the remainder of the set and eventually dropped the opener 6-3. 47 minutes into the match, Great Britain had once again taken a 3-1 lead in part because of Murray’s incredible shot-making, which left the Croatians frustrated and confused.  The Croatians battled valiantly throughout the second set but could not deter the inevitable; Murray and Fleming implemented a near-perfect gameplan won several key rallies to secure the second set 6-2.

Dodig (Profile) and Pavic (Profile) continued to disappoint their home-crowd as they conceded yet another break point at the start of the third set.  With the unforced errors creeping into Murray and Fleming’s game, the Croatian duo took advantage and converted the opportunity to break back and level the game. Murray appeared to lose focus early in the third set, with Fleming going the majority of the returning at that stage. The two teams would trade breaks late in the third set to level it at 4-4. The boisterous Croatian crowd continued to rain down deafening chants to cheer on their star players who held to love to lead 5-4 which forced the Brits to serve to stay in the set. At 5-5, Dodig and Pavic served yet another love-service game to force into a defensive position for the second time in the set. Although the Brits managed to force a tiebreak, the Croatians saved several match points to win 8-6 and stay in the match.

While the British were not at their best in the third set, they recovered in sublime style in the fourth set and finished the match 63, 62, 67, 61. It was an emphatic conclusion to a spectacular doubles match that secured Great Britain a 2-1 lead in the tie.

The Wimbledon champion proved to be an essential component of the team as he personally gave his team a 2 – 1 lead in the tie, as he won both his singles match and his doubles match. Tomorrow’s fourth rubber between Murray and Dodig will determine whether Great Britain will advance into the following round or whether a fifth rubber between Daniel Evans and Borna Coric would be required to decide the proceedings.

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