Murray sends GB into quarters

Hampshire Chronicle: Andy Murray won his singles match on Sunday to see Great Britain into the Davis Cup quarter-finals (AP) Andy Murray won his singles match on Sunday to see Great Britain into the Davis Cup quarter-finals (AP)

Andy Murray ended another long wait for British tennis as he led Leon Smith's team into the Davis Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 28 years.

Six months after becoming the first British man for 77 years to win the Wimbledon singles title, Murray won the crucial rubber to earn a 3-1 victory over the United States.

Britain went into the final day in San Diego as hot favourites to progress given the Scot's status as by far the highest-ranked player on show.

World number 49 Sam Querrey had beaten Murray in one of their previous six meetings and took the fight to his opponent, but it was not enough as the Scot triumphed 7-6 (7/5) 6-7 (3/7) 6-1 6-3.

Murray gave a yell of joy and was enveloped by his team-mates in a celebratory huddle.

The 26-year-old told the BBC: "We have a really good team spirit.

"I've known a lot of the guys for a long time. There's pressure because you have responsibility for your team-mates, but at the same time they've put me in a great position and have won important ties themselves.

"Sam came out playing extremely aggressive, he was very aggressive on my serve. I changed tactics at the beginning of the third set and I was able to dictate a lot of points after that."

In the last eight, Britain will be on their travels again and almost certainly on clay again when they take on Italy in April.

History was against Smith's team going into the tie, with Britain's last victory over the US back in the days of Fred Perry in 1935, while their only previous win on American soil came 111 years ago.

The tie had swung decisively Britain's way in the second singles rubber on Friday when James Ward pulled off a tremendous win over Querrey after Murray had eased past Donald Young.

That allowed Smith to rest Murray for the doubles rubber on Saturday, and the US took advantage with world number one pair Bob and Mike Bryan defeating Colin Fleming and Dominic Inglot.

Murray made the perfect start on Sunday with a break of the Querrey serve - the sixth time in a row that the American had dropped serve.

But with the pressure all on his opponent's shoulders this time, Querrey was a different player to the one who had faded so dramatically against Ward.

He retrieved the break, and then did so again when Murray served for the set.

Querrey then led 3-1 and 4-2 in the tie-break, but Murray hung on and then took his first set point when the American dumped a simple volley in the net.

Querrey was really pushing Murray, though, and in the second-set tie-break the American managed to hold on to his lead.

But the effort took its toll on Querrey and the British number one seized control once more by winning the first four games of the third set.

Murray was showing his full repertoire of skills and he clenched his fist as he made the decisive breakthrough in the sixth game of the fourth set.

Querrey saved a match point on his serve at 2-5, and the nerves showed when Murray slipped to 15-40 serving for the win.

But he saved both break points and on his second match point Querrey sent a backhand wide.

It was Murray's 17th successive Davis Cup singles win and secured an eighth win from nine matches for Smith, whose reputation has grown with every tie.

The Scot took over the captaincy in 2010 after Britain had been humiliated by Lithuania to drop to the verge of relegation to Europe/Africa Zone Group III, the bottom tier of the competition.

Smith said: "Andy was superb there. Sam came out swinging as we knew he would. It's been a massive team effort. We should be proud of our team spirit and what the guys have created."

Because Murray's match went to four sets, Ward was spared having to play the final rubber against Young.

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