Britain, Argentina move to within one win of Davis Cup final
The Murray brothers and an Argentine duo moved Britain and the South American country to within one victory of the Davis Cup final on Saturday.
Before a raucous crowd in Glasgow, Andy Murray and his brother Jamie led Britain to a five-set victory against Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth of Australia on Saturday to take a 2–1 lead in their semifinal.
The Scottish brothers enjoyed vociferous home support in Glasgow but had to come from a set down to win 4–6, 6–3, 6–4, 6–7 (6), 6–4, having wasted a set point in the fourth set.
“To come back from the disappointment of that fourth set, we kept fighting hard and we stuck together, like brothers should,” Andy Murray said.
The win gives Andy Murray a chance to put Britain into its first Davis Cup final since 1978 when he plays Bernard Tomic in Sunday's first reverse singles.
In Brussels, Leonardo Mayer and Carlos Berlocq gave Argentina a 2–1 lead over Belgium in the other semifinal, beating Steve Darcis and Ruben Bemelmans in a four-hour match.
Darcis and Bemelmans got off to a sluggish start but saved 16 of 21 break points they faced before the Argentine pair prevailed 6–2, 7–6 (2), 5–7, 7–6 (5).
“It's been four hours, two days, long matches but I have energy,” said Mayer, who extended his winning streak in Davis Cup to nine matches.
The Argentines also need one more point from Sunday's reverse singles to reach their fifth Davis Cup final after finishing runner-up four times.
The Davis Cup final is scheduled from Nov. 27–29.
In World Group playoffs to determine which countries stay in the 16-country elite group, the United States, Switzerland and Czech Republic were among those holding 2-1 leads going into Sunday's reverse singles.
At Tashkent, Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey held their serve throughout a 6–3, 6–2, 6–2 win over Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin and Farrukh Dustov, wrapping up the match in just over 90 minutes. The U.S. is looking to extend its 26-year stay in the World Group.
Roger Federer and late replacement Marco Chiudinelli missed a chance to seal Switzerland's victory at Geneva, losing a five-set match to the Netherlands. Dutch pair Thiemo De Bakker and Matwe Middelkoop rallied from a set down to win 7–6 (7), 4–6, 4–6, 6–4, 6–1 after Federer's regular partner Stan Wawrinka scratched, citing fatigue.
Switzerland leads 2–1 with second-ranked Federer due on court at Palexpo arena in the first of Sunday's reverse singles against No. 144 De Bakker.
In New Delhi, veteran Leander Paes had a rare doubles defeat. Radek Stepanek and Adam Pavlasek beat favorites Paes and Rohan Bopanna 7–5, 6–2, 6–2 to give the Czechs the edge.
It was only the second Davis Cup doubles loss in 15 years for the 42-year-old Paes. His previous defeat—also with Bopanna—was against Uzbekistan in 2012.
The other five World Group playoffs are also at 2–1: Italy leads Russia, Colombia held the edge over Japan, Germany was up against Dominican Republic, Croatia leads Brazil and Poland has the advantage Slovakia.
Rafael Nadal was also in action for Spain, helping the country to an unassailable 3–0 lead over Denmark in a second-tier relegation playoff. Nadal and Fernando Verdasco overcame Frederik Nielsen and Thomas Kromann 6–4, 3-6, 7–6 (4), 6–4.
Nadal had helped build a 2–0 lead by winning his singles match on Friday, his first appearance for Spain in two years.