Tennis: Britain one point from Davis Cup delight

Jamie (left) and Andy Murray (L) talk during the doubles tennis match on the second day of the Davis Cup final.
Jamie (left) and Andy Murray (L) talk during the doubles tennis match on the second day of the Davis Cup final.AFP

GHENT, Belgium (AFP) - Andy and Jamie Murray took Britain to the cusp of Davis Cup glory in Ghent on Sunday, defeating David Goffin and Steve Darcis of Belgium 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in a crucial doubles match to grab a 2-1 lead with just the reverse singles to follow.

Andy Murray could get the job done when he takes on Goffin in the first of those rubbers on Sunday, giving Britain its first Davis Cup win since 1936 and 10th overall.

Both number ones won their opening matches on Friday and the win for the Murray brothers on Saturday means that Andy is now 10-0 in Davis Cup play this year.

"We just needed to find a way to win more points on Jamie's return side, we got more aggressive and started to turn it around," he said.

"It was a great tactical mix-up. I will prepare like any other match for tomorrow. He (Goffin) is a world class player with the crowd behind him it will be a difficult match for me.

"We have two chances to try and win it tomorrow and if you have offered us that at the start we would have taken it."

The first set, in front of a boisterous 13,000 capacity crowd at the Flanders Expo, was tight as a drum with the first break point only coming after 31 minutes when it was 5-4 to Belgium.

Andy Murray saved that with a big first serve and in the next game a missed smash from Darcis gave the British pair their first set point which they took after Andy Murray got the better of Darcis at the net.

But it was Jamie Murray that faltered in the third game of the second set. Three missed volleys and a double fault opened the door wide for the Belgians and they walked through it on their third set point.

The older of the Murray boys was clearly the target for the Belgians and was struggling. He dropped serve again in the third game of the third set as the home pair started to grow in confidence.

But Darcis chose that moment to fling in a poor service game that allowed the British to level at 2-2.

Two games later it was Goffin's turn to crumble, the British duo dominating at the net to take three straight points from 30-15 down.

Jamie Murray dropped serve for the third time in the following game, but Darcis followed suit to make it an astonishing five breaks in six games.

Andy Murray finally brought some normalcy back to proceedings by holding serve to put Britain two sets to one up.

The British pair broke Darcis again in the third game of the fourth set and then somehow staved off seven break points on the Jamie Murray serve from 0-40 down to take a 3-1 lead.

From there on in it was a case of holding on to serve and they managed that with little difficulty, taking the Darcis serve one more time along the way.

If Goffin upsets Murray in the first of the reverse singles to level the score at 2-2 the final will go down to the wire.

For the moment Ruben Bemelmans, who lost to Murray on Friday, is scheduled to take on Kyle Edmund, who lost to Goffin, in the final rubber.

But there could be changes if the final is still alive with Darcis thought to be likely to play for the Belgians and possibly James Ward for Britain.

Murray can do away with any of those permutations by defeating Goffin, who he beat for the loss of just one game at the Paris Masters earlier this month.

The Belgians though said they still believed they could bounce back and win the Davis Cup for the first time in its 115-year history.

"It's a difficult day tomorrow. But as a team we have to believe, we have to stand up, we have to fight," said team captain Johan van Herck.

"Not a lot of people gave us a chance to win against Argentina (3-2) in the semis, and we did it. So now tomorrow there's a huge task ahead of us.

"We're all going to be ready to fight again. Anything can happen in the Davis Cup."