Davis Cup: Murray Pulls Great Britain Level; Kazakhstan Hold Advantage
Great Britain and France are all square; Kazakhstan holds the advantage against 28-time champion Australia
GREAT BRITAIN 1, FRANCE 1
Surface: Grass - London, England
Andy Murray refused to allow Great Britain to fall in an 0-2 hole on home soil, providing a straight-sets victory over World No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Friday.
Murray saved a trio of set points in a marathon second set tie-break and would run away with the third set for the 7-5, 7-6(10), 6-2 win on the lawns of The Queen's Club in London. The Scot fired nine aces, converting on four of eight break chances to triumph after two hours and 35 minutes.
“I feel fine just now," said Murray. "I’m tired in general, I don’t feel perfect, but I didn’t expect that after the last few months. Luckily we have options in that rubber. We need to be smart and I need to be very honest with how I am feeling and then make the best decision possible with all the team.
“The crowd was great, especially at the important moments. I was happy with the job that I did today."
The World No. 3 improved to 11-1 on grass this year, having hoisted his fourth Aegon Championships trophy, which preceded a semi-final run at Wimbledon. In their first FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter since the 2014 US Open, Murray moved to 11-2 against Tsonga, having won 10 of their last 11 encounters.
Earlier in the day, Giles Simon gave France the lead against the fellow nine-time champions, defeating James Ward 6-4, 6-4, 6-1. Ward committed 51 unforced errors.
"The beginning of the match was really hard for both of us with the wind," Simon said. "It was really hard to control the ball and hit through it. It's not the start you want to have when you play an important match in Davis Cup, but I managed to break him early in each set and it helped me to stay confident."
The 21st meeting between the two nations, Great Britain holds a 11-9 lead in the head-to-head, including a 6-4 edge on grass. However, the Brits have not beaten the French in Davis Cup action in 37 years.
AUSTRALIA 0, KAZAKHSTAN 2
Surface: Grass - Darwin, Australia
Kazakhstan is on the brink of reaching the Davis Cup semi-finals for the first time.
Mikhail Kukushikin, who is currently No. 63 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, defeated Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and nine minutes. Kukushkin dropped eight of his first service points and converted five of his 16 break point opportunities.
"I think it was a better surface for me than for my opponent," admitted Kukushkin. "The score looks easy but it was a tough match. At the start of the second set I felt like I was playing at home. It is a long way to travel from Kazakhstan to Darwin so I would like to thank the crowd. It is great to have their support."
World No. 115 Aleksandr Nedovyesov struck 16 aces past Nick Kyrgios - who hit 12 aces - in a 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 6-4 victory in two hours and 36 minutes. There were three breaks of serve. Nedovyesov was playing just his second live singles rubber.
Sam Groth and Lleyton Hewitt will look to get 28-time champion Australian back into the tie. Groth and Hewitt are scheduled to play Andrey Golubev and Nedovyesov. Australia has only come back from an 0-2 deficit in the Davis Cup once, versus the United States in 1993.
The winners of the tie faces a nine-time titlist in the semi-finals: Great Britain or France. It is the first time that two Davis Cup ties in the same week have been played on grass since 1987.