Like he has so many times, Andy Murray has come through with a big rally to lead Britain to victory over the Netherlands in his return to the Davis Cup.
Murray defeated Tallon Griekspoor 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 7-6 (7-5) on Wednesday after trailing 4-1 in the third set and 4-1 in the decisive tiebreaker, giving his team a 1-0 lead in the Group E series in the new Davis Cup Finals.
“I’ve found a way to win matches many times in my career when I’ve not been playing well,” he said.
“You can draw on that a little bit. I came up with some really good defensive shots at the end of the tiebreak and found a way to win.”
Murray had not played in the Davis Cup since Britain’s semi-final loss to Argentina in 2016. In October, the three-time Grand Slam champion won his first title since hip surgery in January.
“I wasn’t feeling in the best shape coming in and it showed a little bit in the match,” he said.
“It is about finding a way to win and I did that today.”
Murray acknowledged he is still struggling with fitness.
The Dutch evened the score 1-1 when Robin Haase beat Daniel Evans 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 in the second singles match but Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski sealed victory for Britain by defeating Wesley Koolhof and Jean-Julien Rojer in the doubles.
In the revamped Davis Cup format, teams play two singles and a doubles match, with the group winners advancing to the knockout stage along with the two best second-place finishers in the six groups.
The result eliminated the Netherlands.
Novak Djokovic cruised to a 6-1 6-2 win over 73rd-ranked Yoshihito Nishioka, giving Serbia a 2-0 victory over Japan in Group A.
It was the 13th straight Davis Cup singles victory for him. He broke Nishioka’s serve three times in the first set and twice in the second at the Caja Magica.
Filip Krajinovic defeated Yuichi Sugita 6-2 6-4 in the first match.
The winner of Thursday’s series between Serbia and top-ranked France will guarantee a spot in the quarterfinals.
“It’s probably one of the biggest challenges that we can have in this competition,” said Djokovic, who hadn’t played in the Davis Cup since 2017.
“Playing against France, one of the most successful nations in Davis Cup, and definitely one of the strongest teams.”
Japan have no chance of advancing after losing 2-1 to France on Tuesday.
Argentina routed Chile 3-0 on Tuesday but lost to Germany by the same score on Wednesday.
Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Guido Pella 1-6 6-3 6-4 and Jan-Lennard Struff defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-3 7-6 (8-6), then Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies edged Maximo Gonzalez and Leonardo Mayer in the doubles.