PLAYING three matches in as many days, Andy Murray managed to put the finishing touches on a difficult defeat of Japan by the Great Britain tennis team, securing a quarter final fixture against Serbia in the Davis Cup.
A tough five set match saw the world no2 defeat sixth ranked Kei Nishikori 7-5, 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, to see off the Japanese at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham.
Leon Smith, the team captain, said: “I’m pretty much lost for words. He’s a man of steel, isn’t he? It’s quite astonishing, seeing he hasn’t played since the Australian Open final. It’s an absolute privilege to sit alongside him.”
It was the Scotsman’s 14th straight win in a Davis Cup match, a feat which saw him break a record set by Fred Perry which had stood for 85 years.
He will now resume his rivalry with world no1 Novak Djokovic when the Serb and British teams meet in July, just one week after Wimbledon.
The Serbian team overcame the stern challenge of a resolute Kazakhstan contingent bolstered by a fantastic performance from Mikhail Kukushkin who took Djokovic to five sets and demonstrated a capacity well beyond his current no79 ranking.
July’s quarterfinal match-up will be a tough ask for the British team as they hope to follow up on their 2015 victory, with Serbia having last won at the beginning of Djokovic’s reign of terror at the top in 2010.