Saturday 5 March 2016

Great Britain's Andy Murray And Japan's Kei Nishikori Win Davis Cup Rubbers

Great Britain and Japan are deadlocked at 1-1 in the Davis Cup first-round tie in Birmingham after Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori won opening-day rubbers. The reigning champions used Murray to kick-start their defence with a 6-1 6-3 6-1 victory over Japan's No 2 Daniel but Nishikori, Japan's top player, earned retribution with a 6-3 7-5 7-6 win against Dan Evans ahead of Saturday's third rubber.

The initial advantage never looked in doubt for Great Britain as Murray comprehensively outplayed Daniel, the world No 87, who struggled to adjust to the high-pressure environment with a crowd fully behind the home player. It took Daniel six service efforts to finally get the ball on the court, gifting Murray a 4-0 lead that he scarcely worked for. The British No 1 almost won the first set with a clean sweep, until Daniel finally found his feet and held his last service game.

There were signs of rustiness for Murray in his first match since the birth of his first child but Daniel never possessed the firepower to make him pay. Although the American-born 23-year-old was able to hold his first three service games of the second set, it always seemed like a matter of time until Murray broke through. Murray capitalised on a double-fault to go 4-3 ahead and two sensational winners directly off Daniel's serve confirmed the set. Murray broke early in the third set and then crucially to go 5-1 ahead - coming back from a 40-15 deficit with a thunderous smash and a backhand winner before serving his way to the win.

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