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Braveheart Andy Murray has Aussies running for cover

By Gavin McCafferty

Published 19/09/2015

Come on: Andy Murray beats Thanasi Kokkinakis yesterday
Come on: Andy Murray beats Thanasi Kokkinakis yesterday

Andy Murray said pride had spurred him on as he produced a classic display which left Great Britain level with Australia in the Davis Cup in Glasgow after the first day.

Murray gave the hosts the perfect start in their first semi-final in 34 years with a 6-3 6-0 6-3 triumph over a shell-shocked Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Murray said he felt inspired to produce a peak performance in a sold-out Emirates Arena.

"It's fantastic," he said on court. "A huge match to start off the tie and I'm glad I managed to put on a performance.

"The crowd was fantastic from the first point to the last.

"I didn't give (Kokkinakis) many opportunities on my serve, (I) was very aggressive.

"Representing your country is a proud moment, I love it, and I always perform my best when I'm here for my country. Hopefully I can do the same for the rest of the weekend."

Britain's Dan Evans initially struggled to step up a level against Bernard Tomic before producing a defiant display as he broke back at the world number 22 in three consecutive sets before succumbing to a 6-3 7-6 (7/4) 6-7 (4/7) 6-4 defeat.

With the score tied, Murray could now be unleashed in the doubles today alongside brother Jamie, although Dom Inglot was initially pencilled in to face Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth.

Kokkinakis regularly practises with Murray on tour but the 19-year-old was blown away by the world number three's punishing tennis.

Murray dropped just two service points in the first set, one of them a double fault.

Kokkinakis, ranked 72 in the world, initially put up a decent fight on his own serve, rescuing several break points, but a wonderful return from Murray saw him break in the sixth game and he finished the set off with an ace.

Murray was looking fresh after his US Open fourth-round exit allowed him several days off, and he stepped up another gear in the second set, allowing his opponent just five points in a 25-minute demolition.

He broke early in the third set and finished it off with a brilliant backhand cross-court return to ensure he is fresh for a possible outing today.

Evans then did his best to tire out Tomic before the Australian number one faces the former Wimbledon champion tomorrow.

Evans had been a surprise choice ahead of James Ward after Kyle Edmund picked up an ankle injury on Tuesday, answering the call to join the squad that day.

The 25-year-old came into the event in form after winning 29 of his last 32 matches but all at a lower level, and the world number 300 initially struggled to bridge the gap against a player ranked 277 places above him.

But he had been chosen partly because he beat Tomic in the 2013 US Open after coming back from a set and three games down, and he threatened to repeat the feat but just couldn't quite manage it.

The next two days promise some intriguing tennis.

Belfast Telegraph

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