David Cup: Andy Murray produces comeback to win on return to Great Britain action

Andy Murray in action for Great Britain in the Davis Cup
Andy Murray in action for Great Britain in the Davis Cup

Andy Murray conjured up another miracle comeback to beat Holland number two Tallon Griekspoor as Great Britain defeated Netherlands in their Davis Cup Finals opener in Madrid.

  • Scroll down for full Davis Cup Finals results & schedule

The former world number one is playing in the competition for the first time since 2016 and his return to form and fitness had been seen as a major boost to Britain's hopes of challenging for the trophy at the inaugural finals week.

If that is to happen, Murray will have to improve significantly from a performance where he looked out of shape and rusty and was given a huge scare by an unheralded opponent ranked 179, who admittedly played well above that.

Crucially for Britain, though, the Scot's famous fighting spirit was very much in evidence and he battled back from 1-4 down in the deciding set to win 6-7 (7) 6-4 7-6 (5) after two hours and 51 minutes.

The deciding tie-break was a masterclass in extraordinary defence from Murray, who said: "It was a very, very tough match, fantastic atmosphere."

A sizeable contingent of British fans made the Caja Magica's third arena look and feel like a Davis Cup stage and Murray added: "I think that was one of the things that some of the players were worried about playing at a neutral venue but I thought the atmosphere was brilliant from both sets of fans.

"He played brilliant. I was lucky at the end of the match. He deserved to win."

There had been speculation that Murray may not play in this tie to rest him for harder matches but it soon became clear the question marks were in fact about his form.

The tie went go a deciding doubles rubber after Dan Evans was beaten 3-6 7-6 (5) 6-4 by Dutch number one Robin Haase.

Evans looked to be cruising at a set and a break up and served for victory at 5-4 in the second set but Haase broke back and an early break in the deciding set proved crucial.

Britain emerged victorious from the tie thanks to a 6-4 7-6 (6) victory for Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski over Wesley Koolhof and Jean-Julien Rojer.

Scroll down for more results from the Davis Cup

It was a high-pressure occasion for Skupski, who has been partnering Murray on the tour since June, to make his debut but the Liverpudlian did extremely well.

Issues with the advertising screens flickering caused a couple of temporary delays - another example of the technological shortcomings that need to be addressed - but that did not detract from another compelling contest.

Murray and Skupski were on the ropes on several occasions in the second set but saved two set points in the tie-break before a run of four straight points earned them victory.

Another win for Britain over Kazakhstan on Thursday will book their spot in the last eight.

Elsewhere, Rafael Nadal's Spain eased into the quarter-finals on home soil while Novak Djokovic helped Serbia make a fast start to their campaign.

It was nearly 2am on Wednesday morning when Spain completed victory over Russia but they made much shorter work of a severely-weakened Croatia in the evening to send the defending champions tumbling out.

Croatia's chance took a major hit with the withdrawal pre-event of Marin Cilic, and they were also without Borna Coric on Wednesday.

Doubles specialist Nikola Mektic had to play singles against Roberto Bautista Agut, losing 6-1 6-3, before home hero Nadal saw off Borna Gojo 6-4 6-3.

While the main arena was again rocking for Spain's tie, it was a different story in the morning for Serbia's clash with Japan, but Djokovic shrugged off the lack of atmosphere in a speedy 6-1 6-2 victory over Yoshihito Nishioka.

That secured the most comfortable of victories after Filip Krajinovic had earlier beaten Yuichi Sugita 6-2 6-4, with the doubles team of Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki completing a 3-0 whitewash.

Djokovic, meanwhile, criticised the situation that emerged on Tuesday night when Canada were allowed to forfeit their doubles rubber against the USA having already won both singles matches.

That put the Canadians through to the quarter-finals but, with the two best-placed runners-up across the six groups progressing to the last eight, the 6-0 6-0 scoreline awarded to the US could help them in comparison to other teams.

Djokovic said: "I personally don't like that. That shouldn't be allowed. That 6-0 6-0 might make a big difference in the calculations for the second-best teams. So I don't think that's fair. I think everyone should be obliged to come out and play."

The International Tennis Federation said that Canada were permitted not to play the rubber because three of their four players were passed unfit.

Teams are allowed to have five players but Canada chose not to replace Milos Raonic when he pulled out through injury.

Germany sprang a surprise by beating Argentina 3-0 to give themselves a great chance of reaching the quarter-finals.

Philipp Kohlschreiber recovered from a set down to defeat Guido Pella 1-6 6-3 6-4 while Jan-Lennard Struff was a 6-3 7-6 (8) winner over top-20 player Diego Schwartzman.

Doubles pair Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies then won the longest tie-break in Davis Cup history, taking the deciding set 20-18 against Maximo Gonzalez and Leonardo Mayer.

Davis Cup Finals 2019 Results

The entire tournament is taking place in Madrid this week. There are six groups of three teams, who play each other once. Each tie is three rubbers - two singles and one doubles - and are all best of three sets and played on one day. The six group winners go through to the quarter-finals and are joined by the two best runners-up based on percentage of sets won (followed by games won).

The quarter-finals take place from Thursday 21-Friday 22. The semi-finals are on Saturday 23, with the Grand Final on Sunday 24.

GROUP A

  • France 2-1 Japan
  • Serbia 3-0 Japan
  • France v Serbia (Thursday November 21)

GROUP B

  • Croatia 0-3 Russia
  • Spain 2-1 Russia
  • Croatia 0-3 Spain

GROUP C

  • Argentina 3-0 Chile
  • Argentina 0-3 Germany
  • Germany v Chile (Thursday November 21)

GROUP D

  • Belgium 2-1 Colombia
  • Australia 3-0 Colombia
  • Belgium 0-2 Australia

GROUP E

  • Kazakhstan 2-1 Netherlands
  • Great Britain 2-1 Netherlands
  • Great Britain v Kazakhstan (Thursday November 21)

GROUP F

  • Italy 1-2 Canada
  • United States 1-2 Canada
  • United States 0-0 Italy (Wednesday November 20)

Knockout Stage

Quarter-Finals

  • Group A winner v One of the runners-up (November 22)
  • Australia v Canada (November 21)
  • Winner Group E v Winner Group C (November 21)
  • One of the runners-up v Spain (November 22)

Semi-Finals (November 23)

  • Winner QF 1 v Winner QF 2
  • Winner QF 3 v Winner QF 4

Finals (November 24)

  • Winner SF 1 v Winner SF 2

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