What had begun as just a pipedream is now becoming a distinct possibility as Great Britain have reached the semi-finals of the Davis Cup. Thanks to the heroic efforts of the Murray brothers over the weekend, Team GB defeated the French at Queen's Club to march on towards an eagerly anticipated home tie in September against the Australians. This year's competition has seen many of the highly fancied nations already eliminated, leaving GB in with a strong chance to lift the illustrious team prize for the first time since 1936.
Murray committed to the cause
Andy Murray demonstrated all too evidently how strongly he supports the cause this year, playing himself almost to a standstill at one stage against Gilles Simon in the return singles, before ultimately clinching the match by three sets to one. The effort of playing three matches in three days at Queen's and the rigours from a long run at Wimbledon the week before, began to take their toll on his body in the first two sets. Somehow he mustered the courage to claw his way back into a match that had seemed to be slipping away from him, roaring back from a set and a break down to dampen the joie de vivre of his opponent.
Ward played his part
With James Ward having fully played his part in the earlier rounds, this was essentially a massive team effort. Yet for all the camaraderie of the British camp, it came down to Murray and his strength of will to tip the tie his side's way by the end. Ward had already lost convincingly to Simon in the opening singles rubber and would have been the massive underdog against Richard Gasquet if the tie had endured to a deciding singles match.
Murrays gain all GB's points
As it was, Murray's dominance resurfaced by the end of his 4-6 7-6 6-3 6-0 victory over Simon, aided by his opponent's clear discomfort after a heavy fall in the final set. It gave GB an unassailable 3-1 lead and with it the tie, adding to Murray's earlier victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on day one and the classy doubles success for Andy and Jamie on day two.
Aussies lie in wait in semis
Britain's next opponents will be the Aussies after their battling comeback from 2-0 down to defeat Kazakhstan 3-2. They do not have players ranked as highly as the French but as ever with a sport's team from Down Under will make GB fight for every point no doubt. With the youthful exuberance of Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, the serving firepower of Sam Groth and the never say die attitude of Lleyton Hewitt they have also fought their way through the rounds.
Venue to be decided
The venue for GB's semi-final has yet to be confirmed with the expectation that the 18-20th September tie will move back indoors on to a hard court. That could imply a return to Scotland to ensure a heavily partisan support for the fixture or maybe the O2 Arena in London.
Belgium v Argentina in other semi-final
The winners of the last-four clash will then face either Argentina or Belgium in the final. Without world number one Novak Djokovic, Serbia succumbed 4-1 in Buenos Aires to the Argentinians; Belgium utilised their home advantage to rout Canada 5-0, who were missing both Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil from their team. Belgium will play hosts to their South American rivals.
Should GB make the final it would be their first appearance at that stage since 1978. The Murray brothers would then hope that they could improve on the feats of John and David Lloyd, who tasted defeat at the hands of a John McEnroe led American team. #Tennis