More Murray heroics as Britain beat Japan

Sun Mar 6, 2016 5:31pm EST
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BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Britain's Andy Murray won a gripping five-set match against Japan's Kei Nishikori to secure a 3-1 Davis Cup win for the champions and a quarter-final with Novak Djokovic's Serbia.

Murray, whose heroics helped clinch the title against Belgium last year, was pegged back after taking the first two sets, but eventually prevailed against the world number six 7-5 7-6(6) 3-6 4-6 6-3 in four hours and 54 minutes.

It was Murray's first event back on court since the birth of his daughter, but any doubts over his fitness were dispelled as he once again carried Britain's hopes almost single-handedly, winning three matches, including the doubles, in three days.

"I am lost for words at this stage; he (Murray) is a man of steel, isn't he?" Britain's captain Leon Smith said.

"What Andy managed to do was astonishing since he hasn't played since the Australian Open final."

After his exertions, Murray said he was keen to get back to his family.

"It's (wife) Kim's first Mother's Day, so it will be nice to get to see her this evening. I'll try to get back for bath time and to put her to sleep -- the baby, not Kim."

Murray has been dogged by the shadow of Fred Perry for much of his career, but victory over Nishikori allowed him to put another Perry milestone behind him.

Having become the first British man since Perry to win a grand slam and then Wimbledon, Murray surpassed the former great by improving his unbeaten streak in Davis Cup singles and doubles rubbers to 14.   Continued...

Tennis - Great Britain v Japan - Davis Cup World Group First Round - Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham - 6/3/16
Great Britain's Andy Murray celebrates during his match against Japan's Kei Nishikori
Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers