Davis Cup: Colin Fleming and Jonny Marray win for Great Britain against Russia
Last Updated: 07/04/13 7:06pm
Colin Fleming and Jonny Marray: Doubles victory for Britain
Great Britain's Davis Cup hopes were kept alive thanks to Colin Fleming and Jonny Marray's emphatic doubles victory over Russia's Igor Kunitsyn and Victor Baluda.
Sitting at 2-0 down after two agonisingly close five-set defeats in Friday's singles, Marray and Fleming gave the home side hope with a comprehensive straight sets victory at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
Fleming and Marray took just under 90 minutes to breeze through their meeting with Kunitsyn and Baluda 6-1 6-4 6-2, to give Britain hope of reversing a 2-0 deficit for just the second time in Davis Cup history.
For Wimbledon doubles champion Marray it was a perfect debut at the age of 32, and the British team must now hope Evans and Ward can win the reverse singles clashes on Sunday to send them through to a World Group play-off in September.
Given the difference in rankings, that remains very much an outside chance, but the doubles win will give them hope, even if it was expected.
Fleming has won his last seven Davis Cup rubbers, the last three with Ross Hutchins, who is taking an enforced break from tennis this year as he receives treatment for cancer.
Marray had been in the team once before when he was an unused fourth member but has been in great form. As well as the Wimbledon win, along with Dane Freddie Nielsen he reached the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in November.
There were no jitters from Marray as he opened proceedings and, although 21-year-old Baluda, another debutant, held his serve in response, it was the only game Russia won in the opening set.
Scot Fleming has already won two ATP Tour titles this year and, although he has not played as much with Marray as they would have liked because of the latter's recent calf injury, they looked very much a team.
The pair were simply much better at playing the low volleys and half-volleys that are such a feature of top-level doubles, and they pounced on Baluda's serve again in the third game of the second set, and Fleming then served out for a two-set lead after just over an hour.
Things got even better as Baluda double-faulted to hand another break to the home side at the start of the third, and the match was all but over when Britain added a fifth game in a row.
It was fitting that it was Fleming, the best player on the court, who served out the victory, clinching it with an ace before dedicating the win to Hutchins.