GLASGOW: Australia captain Wally Masur insist his team is braced to face Andy and Jamie Murray on Saturday in a doubles contest likely to decide the fate of their Davis Cup semifinals.
The tie is delicately poised at 1-1 after Bernard Tomic kept Australia’s hopes alive with a hard-fought 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (4/7), victory over surprise selection Dan Evans on Friday.
The pressure had been on the world number 23 after Andy Murray had given Great Britain the perfect start with a 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 demolition of Thanasi Kokkinakis.
With a final place against either Belgium or Argentina in November at stake, Tomic’s victory means the tie can’t be decided until Sunday’s reverse singles rubbers but Masur believes the doubles could prove crucial in the final outcome.
“I guess we thought it would be 1-1 after today and it has come to that situation where there is so much focus on the doubles,” said Astralia captain Masur.
Lleyton Hewitt will partner Sam Groth for Australia and Masur anticipates his players will be facing world number three Murray and his big brother Jamie on the hard-court of the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.
“I would be expecting that. No disrespect to Dominic Inglot— he’s had a great summer—but Andy’s different class,” Masur said.
“I know he’s played some doubles in the past and with his form today I would think he would go in. Andy was as clinical and intense as I’ve ever seen him.
“I guess it’s a good story too; the Murray brothers playing doubles in Glasgow.
“You heard the reception he got when he walked out for the opening ceremony. He’s a superstar of the game and has been for a decade and he’s a Grand Slam winner.”
Murray took under two hours to see off the challenge of 19-year-old Kokkinakis as he attempts to lead Great Britain to their first Davis Cup final since 1978.
The 28-year-old played three tough matches in three days in the win over France in the quarter-finals in July and said he would make himself available for the doubles again if called upon by captain Leon Smith.
“It isn’t my decision. It’s up to the captain to decide that. Obviously now I have the option to be picked as my match was quick,” Murray said.
“I think everyone in the team wants to play. Everyone wants to try and help where they can.”
Smith said no decision had been made as to whether Murray would feature on Saturday.
“Andy was outstanding today. But it’s not just about Andy,” said Smith.
“Yes, he is the best player across the two teams. That’s a given. But it’s about Jamie as well and I think he is playing the best tennis of his career.
“I thought he was absolutely outstanding against France and Dom is playing great. He made the semifinals of the US Open and is desperate to play. He has Davis Cup experience as well which helps as well.”
Smith felt the surprise performance of Evans in his encounter with Tomic justified his shock selection ahead of regular James Ward.
“I feel for Dan, I think he repaid the faith that we had to select him,” Smith added.
“If it does come to the final rubber that’s going to stand him in good stead now.
“I respect Kyle Edmund and James Ward hugely, but I just thought Dan would have a great chance against Tomic on this court, and so it proved.”