Murray fights back to give GB winning start at Davis Cup

  • Posted: Nov 20, 2019
2019 Davis Cup finals
Venue: Caja Magica, Madrid Dates: 18-24 November
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from Wednesday, 20 November; Live text coverage on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.

Andy Murray survived a scare against Dutch world number 179 Tallon Griekspoor before giving Great Britain a winning start at the inaugural Davis Cup finals in Madrid.

Murray, 32, lost the opener in the new best-of-three sets format before winning 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 7-6 (7-5).

The group stage tie continues when British number one Dan Evans plays Robin Haase later on Wednesday.

Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski will play in the doubles to round off the opener.

Britain, who won the 2015 Davis Cup in the previous format, have been drawn against the Netherlands and Kazakhstan – who they face on Thursday – in the group stage.

Eighteen nations are contesting a football-style knockout tournament for the first time to determine the Davis Cup champions, with the winners of the six groups and the two best-placed runners-up reaching the quarter-finals.

  • Innovation or sacrilege? What you need to know about the new Davis Cup
  • Andy Murray cautious of schedule
  • ‘Format had to change’ – Jamie Murray

Brilliant atmosphere & thrilling finale

Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique has overseen the transformation of the 119-year-old competition into the season-ending finals, which has been met with fierce criticism from some and doubts about the atmosphere such a format would create.

While Spain’s opening match on Tuesday night was unsurprisingly watched by a partisan and full crowd at the Caja Magica, some matches have struggled to attend spectators.

Britain’s opening tie against the Dutch was not expected to be one and so it proved as about 1,000 Union Jack-clad fans created a boisterous atmosphere on a 2,500-capacity third show court which was about three-quarters full by most estimates.

The crowd was given plenty of entertainment by Murray and Griekspoor in a gripping match full of ebbs and flows, a final-set tie-break providing a thrilling finale which eventually separated the pair.

Supporters from both nations were left standing on their feet and roaring their player towards victory in the tie-break, with Murray sealing the type of win he has earned throughout his illustrious career after two hours and 51 minutes.

“The atmosphere was one of the things players were worried about in a neutral venue but both sets of fans were fantastic,” Murray said.

The new Davis Cup format

Eighteen nations are split into six groups of three, with the group winners and two best-placed runners-up progressing to the quarter-finals.

The two semi-finals will be played on Saturday, 23 November with the two winners going through to the final on Sunday, 24 November.

The six groups
Group A: France, Serbia, Japan Group B: Croatia, Spain, Russia
Group C: Argentina, Germany, Chile Group D: Belgium, Australia, Colombia
Group E: Great Britain, Kazakhstan, Netherlands Group F: United States, Italy, Canada
Which of the world’s top 20 are playing?
Rafael Nadal (Spain) [1] Fabio Fognini (Italy) [12]
Novak Djokovic (Serbia) [2] Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) [14]
Matteo Berrettini (Italy) [8] Denis Shapovalov (Canada) [15]
Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain) [9] Karen Khachanov (Russia) [17]
Gael Monfils (France) [10] Alex de Minaur (Australia) [18]
David Goffin (Belgium) [11]

Schedule – who plays when?

Group stage: Monday, 18 November – Thursday, 21 November

Quarter-finals: Thursday, 21 November – Friday, 22 November

Semi-finals: Saturday, 23 November

Final: Sunday, 24 November

More to follow.

  • Live scores, schedule and results
  • Alerts: Get tennis news sent to your phone

Source link