Great Britain are knocked out of the ATP Cup quarter-finals by Australia as Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury are beaten by Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur after an epic 34-POINT tie-break
- Great Britain will miss out on the ATP Cup semi-finals after losing to Australia
- Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury lost 3-6 6-3 18-16 after an agonising tie-break
- Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur will advance to the semi-finals after their win
- Earlier Dan Evans had kept GB’s hopes alive with a thrilling win over de Minaur
Four match points will haunt Great Britain after they went down to an agonising defeat to Australia in the ATP Cup after an epic sudden death shootout.
The doubles team of Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury had a quartet of chances to see off Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur to allow their captain Tim Henman to finally put one over opposite captain Lleyton Hewitt and make the semi finals.
But in a breathtaking deciding ‘champions’ tiebreak they went down 18-16, having admirably fought their way back from 4-7 in the first to ten format.
Alex de Minaur, left, and Nick Kyrgios can’t hold back their emotions after beating Great Britain
Joe Salisbury, left, and Jamie Murray had a number of opportunities to put the match to bed
Murray, the better player in the GB pairing, will stew on the backhand he missed at 11-10 when it invitingly popped up after the netcord. With the court gaping open he sent it long.
While they resisted Australia’s five match points to clinch it Britain also had match points at 10-9, 15-14 and 16-15 that saw excellent returns from the host nation in an incredible shootout that lasted just shy of half an hour before a partisan crowd.
An ashen-faced Murray was disconsolate afterwards, especially when considering the one clear cut match point opportunity he and Salisbury had.
‘We put ourselves in a position to win, I missed that point on top of the net which was ridiculous. We played a good first set and let them back into it. It will hurt. I should never have missed that shot and I will probably never miss it again in my career.’
Murray rued missed chances against the Australian pair and said the quarter-final loss will hurt
Kyrgios and de Minaur will advance to the semi-finals of the competition in their home country
Henman said: ‘We have played some great tennis but it’s massively disappointing to get that close and not come out on top. It will sting for a while.’
Evans added: ‘It was nerve wracking watching the doubles unfold, I felt worse than during my match. We all left everything we had out on the court and can be proud of that.’
Earlier Evans had played brilliantly to beat world number 18 de Minaur 7-6 4-6 7-6 in three hours and 24 minutes to level the match at 1-1.
After that Hewitt made the late decision to substitute in de Minaur and Kyrgios ahead of his doubles specialists, and it just about paid off.
Great Britain coach Tim Henman said it was ‘massively disappointing’ to miss out on the semis
The less experienced Salisbury dropped his serve three times, the first occasion being the opening game of the match, and again at the start of the second set. Surprisingly, the Kyrgios thunderbolt serve was broken once in each set.
Amid feverish support for the host team it went into a deciding tiebreak, the previously untried British pair still losing their bearings with each other at the odd time.
It is doubtful Evans has ever played better over such a sustained period of time as he pulled off an earlier epic victory over the Australian number one.
‘That’s about as good as I’ve got,’ said an exhausted British number one, who was mobbed by team-mates at the end.
The British pair show their dejection after they agonisingly missed out on the semi-finals
Giving his all court skills full range he contributed to what was easily the match of the event so far in edging out one of the best athletes in the game, who sprints around the court like a whippet.
There was nothing in it until the deciding set, which the 29 year-old Midlander led 3-0 and 4-2 against a relentless opponent.
Not only was it full-blooded in the rallies but there were feisty exchanges between Evans and Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt, seated in the team zone in the corner of the court.
While the crowd had taken a while to build and warm up early on with the 10am start – which had seen a fairly routine 6-2 6-2 win for Kyrgios over Cam Norrie – they were fully animated in their support for the home player as the match took on an outstanding quality.
Dan Evans had earlier kept Great Britain’s hopes alive with a thrilling win against de Minaur
At 6-5 in the third Evans forced four match points, all of which were saved by blazing winners from the Australian, including one ace.
Evans went the wrong way with the court at his mercy at 2-0 in the tiebreak to be pegged back but shrugged off the disappointment and put clear water between him and de Minaur with a brilliant backhand pass to go 5-2 up and then serve it out.
He looked completely spent for the last half hour but kept on, constantly chivvied by his team-mates.
With ranking points awarded at this event he will now go down into the low thirties, and there must be a good chance he will be seeded at the Australian Open later this month, having needed to qualify a year ago.
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