Tennis: Andy Murray pulls Britain level in Davis Cup final, eyes doubles with brother

Andy Murray in action during his match against Ruben Bemelmans (not pictured).
Andy Murray in action during his match against Ruben Bemelmans (not pictured). PHOTO: REUTERS

GHENT, BELGIUM (AFP) - Andy Murray on Friday ticked off one of the three boxes he needs to fill to win Britain's first Davis Cup since 1936 and now he needs the help of older brother Jamie.

The two Scots will once again join forces in Ghent on Saturday in the doubles - more often than not the key rubber in Davis Cup ties. Of the last 15 Davis Cup finals, 11 have gone to the team that won the doubles and, in the Murray brothers, the British have a trump card they think they can play against Belgium.

"I believe in myself. I believe in me and Jamie as a doubles team, as well," said Andy after he defeated Ruben Bemelmans in straight sets to level the final at 1-1 after Friday's opening singles.

David Goffin had earlier edged British newcomer Kyle Edmund in five sets, clawing his way back from two sets down.

The British script has long been for Murray to win both his singles with the doubles sandwiched between those. Goffin will await him in the first of Sunday's reverse singles.

"Goffin's a top-quality player when he plays well. He's ranked 16th in the world, plays well on the clay. I'm aware that will be a very tough match to win," said Murray. "In the doubles, Davis Cup is always tough, never easy, just because of the way doubles is played.

"I believe we can win the tie, obviously, otherwise there would be no point in us being there. But it's going to be tough, for sure."

The Murrays - Andy at 28 is one year younger than Jamie - seldom play together on the ATP Tour as Andy concentrates on his singles career. But they know each other's game inside out from their childhood days and form a formidable pairing in the Davis Cup.

This year already they have scored vital wins over France and Australia en route to the final, and their contribution on Saturday could once again be crucial.

Murray though counters that it is not a case of do-or-die on Saturday for either side.

"I don't think it's as important as in some of the ties. I believe if we lost the doubles, we could win two singles on Sunday," he said.

"Kyle could have won today. If he was to play at that level against (Steve) Darcis, that's not an easy match for Darcis.

"The fifth point, the fifth rubber in a Davis Cup Final is Darcis or James (Ward) or Kyle, whoever plays that match, will never have experienced anything like that before.

"So it's not a gimme. Both teams are capable of winning all of the points here. I did say that before the tie started. Today's matches I think proved that."

While the Murray brothers look certain to start the doubles on Saturday, doubts shroud the Belgian selection. Announced to play are old hand Darcis and youngster Kimmer Coppejans, but all the signs were that captain Johan van Herck will ask Goffin to join Darcis.