Davis Cup: Great Britain through to quarter-finals after Murray beats Querrey
Andy Murray beat Sam Querrey of the United States to send Great Britain through to the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup.
Last Updated: 03/02/14 11:25am
Britain went into the final day in San Diego leading the USA 2-1 and as heavy favourites to progress given Murray's status as by far the highest-ranked player on show.
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 made the perfect start 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.
Saved match point
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.
In the last eight, Britain will be on their travels again and almost certainly on clay again when they take on Italy in April.
"We have a really good team spirit," the 26-year-old told the BBC. "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."