Britain's Davis Cup reign ends

September 19, 2016

Great Britain's reign as Davis Cup champions has been ended in the semi-final by Argentina, thanks chiefly to a crucial victory over Andy Murray by Juan Martin del Potro.

Throughout last year and into this, Murray's continuous success in both singles matches and in the doubles with his brother Jamie had given Great Britain the points they needed to win matches.

However, Friday's opening singles rubber in Glasgow saw Del Potro break that run with an epic five-set win in a match the world number two missed his grandfather's funeral to play in. At five hours and seven minutes, it was the longest match Murray had ever played in and saw revenge for Del Potro after the Olympic final.

It is yet another reason for those booking corporate hospitality for Wimbledon 2017 to keep an eye on the form of the former US Open winner, as his impressive form since returning from his third wrist operation suggests he will be a strong contender for the big prizes in the next 12 months.

Argentina capitalised on that victory as Guido Pella beat Kyle Edmund in the second match to take a 2-0 lead, despite Edmund winning the first set.  

Needing to win all three remaining rubbers, Great Britain's captain Leon Smith paired the Murray brothers in the doubles, with Del Potro and Leonardo Mayer featuring for Argentina. With Del Potro so tired after Friday, it was a gamble to end the tie there and then that backfired as the Murray brothers won in straight sets.

It left the home side still in with a chance going into the final day, but while Andy Murray prepared to defy near exhaustion to play, Argentina were forced to leave del Potro out and risk a decider between Mayer and Dan Evans.

Murray played his part, winning in straight sets despite needing treatment on a quad problem. However, Evans was to suffer the same fate as Edmund, winning the first set but then fading as Mayer prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

While Argentina as a team can look forward to a final with Croatia, Del Potro can add another feather to his cap, having now beaten all three of this year's Grand Slam winners in recent months.  

By Sam Coates

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