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Tuesday, 04 August 2020

Tennis: Inspired Murray leads Britain to Davis Cup title

Reuters , Sunday 29 Nov 2015
Andy Murray
Britain's Andy Murray holds the winner's trophy after defeating Belgium’s David Goffin on Sunday (Photo: AP )
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The moment Andy Murray has pursued with fanatical zeal arrived, unforgettably, on Sunday when an outrageous lob arced over Belgium's David Goffin to seal Britain's first Davis Cup title for 79 years.

Fittingly for a player who has almost single-handedly guided his country to a 10th title, the indefatigable Murray ended Goffin's inspired resistance with a moment of sheer brilliance few could conjure to complete a 6-3 7-5 6-3 victory.

It gave Britain a winning 3-1 lead and started a party that hundreds of visiting fans decked out in union flags and Scottish saltires will keep going long into the night in medieval Ghent.

Murray, who looked close to exhaustion at the end of the three-hour contest that was far closer than the scoreline suggested, collapsed on to the claycourt before being swamped by his team mates and captain Leon Smith.

Sportingly he clambered to his feet to console Goffin who had gallantly clung on to the hope of keeping alive Belgium's chances of winning the title for the first time.

Murray then saluted the 'Barmy Army', who roared his every winner over a weekend that rubber-stamped his place in the chronicles of British sporting greatness.

"I never thought we would have the opportunity to do this and I can't believe we have done it," an emotional Murray, who became the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years in 2013, said on court.

"The atmosphere was phenomenal. I imagine we'll have a party tonight."

World number two Murray, whose return to the Davis Cup team in 2013 sparked Britain's rapid rise from the depths of the competition, has won 11 live rubbers in this year's run, matching Ivan Ljubicic's total for Croatia in 2005.

He has won all eight singles he played while teaming up three times with brother Jamie for crucial doubles wins, one of which came on Saturday to put Britain 2-1 ahead.

The small Scottish town of Dunblane, where the Murray brothers grew up, could justifiably claim its name should be inscribed on the trophy.

"Andy has shown himself to be an absolute superstar. He will be the first to say that it is a team thing but what he has done is astonishing. I am proud of everyone," captain Smith said.

Murray was forced to play some of his best tennis against a dangerous opponent who was roared on by a soccer-style crowd inside the claustrophobic arena.

Goffin squandered a break point at 2-2 in the opening set and Murray then pounced, scorching a backhand winner off a weak second serve to move 4-2 ahead.

Murray wrapped up the first set with a forehand winner but there was no chance of Goffin's challenge fading.

The Belgian world number 16 played some sensational tennis to stay ahead in the second set but could not take the few chances that came his way.

Murray broke in the 11th game when Goffin netted a forehand and clinched the set with a stupendous forehand winner.

He wobbled briefly when he dropped serve early in the third set but the world number two responded to move 5-3 ahead before providing the most spectacular of climaxes.

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