After acting as the unofficial Great Britain cheerleader yesterday, as he willed his older brother Jamie and Dom Inglot on to better things in the doubles rubber, it was back to the more familiar day job for Andy Murray today, as he completed the task of leading his team through to the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup. A straight-sets win over John Isner was just what the Glasgow crowd demanded and the world number five seed duly delivered with a 7-6 6-3 7-6 triumph, ensuring that Britain established a 3-1 lead and also that James Ward's match with Donald Young would become a dead rubber.
It was never as plain sailing as the basic facts would suggest, as nothing ever seems to be against a giant of a man with a hammer serve to boot. The Scot did what he could with the few opportunities presented to him on his opponent's serve, but in truth had to save three set points on his own delivery before claiming the first set on the tie-break, aided by the big American's double fault early on in it.
With chants of "Let's go, Andy, let's go" ringing around the Emirates Arena, Murray finally broke the American's serve in the second set thanks to a delicious lob over his 6'10" rival. He was able to close the set out, as Isner began to increase the number of unforced errors in his game, roared on by the mainly partisan 7,700 capacity crowd.
Murray seemed to have the edge now, not just on the scoreboard but also in terms of general momentum. Yet, Isner's serve is nothing but reliable and consistent, even under pressure and he kept his interest going throughout the third set. As the spectators began to accept the almost inevitable tie-break that was looming, Murray had to survive a slight scare when 0-30 on his own serve, trailing 4-5. He came through that test with honours and the third set tie-break was confirmed. Murray grabbed an early mini-break to get his nose in front, clinching the victory with a subtly sliced ace out wide to spark jubilation in the arena for the British fans.
Britain and Scotland's hero acclaimed the entire team effort for the success afterwards: "It feels great. This is a team effort and I think everyone agrees (that) the team played their part."
Next up in the quarter-finals will be France in July at home, with the venue as of yet unconfirmed. With the date just a week after Wimbledon, Murray suggested that maybe they'd look to play it on grass, before somewhat cheekily adding that he'd love to be able to play the tie in Glasgow again. #Tennis