• Davis Cup

Murray helps hand Great Britain 2-0 lead

ESPN staff
January 31, 2014
Andy Murray showed no signs of discomfort during his emphatic win over Donald Young © Getty Images

Andy Murray powered past his opponent Donald Young and any remaining doubts about his return to full fitness following back surgery as he raced to victory in the opening rubber of Great Britain's Davis Cup tie with the United States in San Diego.

James Ward then won 10 of the last 11 games to take a stunning five-set victory against Sam Querrey and give Britain a 2-0 lead.

Murray was in impressive form throughout and took the match 6-1 6-2 6-3 in an hour and 38 minutes against the world No. 79, who was playing in place of the injured John Isner.

"I played a good match today," Murray said. "I gave him very few opportunities when I was serving. I gave him a couple in the third set which was due to his good play and him playing better and me making some mistakes. But overall it was a good match for me.

"Weekends like this you want to try conserve as much energy as you can when possible. Days can be quite long, and playing three days in a row is challenging so it's good to get one three sets so we have options when we play tomorrow."

Murray opened the match serving and the game lasted fully six minutes as Young battled well from the back of the court. The court had been heavily watered in an effort to make it as wearing as possible on the only recently returned Murray, but he used the slower pace to his advantage to attack Young's second service and break the American immediately.

The onslaught continued throughout the first set as Murray raced into a 5-0 lead. Young finally held in his third service game, but Murray served out the set with an increasing sense of comfort, his forehand looking particularly impressive. The set was won in 22 minutes, despite that prolonged first game.

Young, two years' Murray's junior, was made to work hard for a hold in the opening game of the second set, saving a break point in the process. He was not so lucky in his next service game, though, as Murray made the breakthrough once again.

The one-sided match continued to slide away from the American as he drilled a forehand volley into the net to be broken for a 4-1 deficit in the second set. Murray's incredible ability to cover all parts of the court were on full display at 5-1 up, even playing a left-handed desperation return in one incredible rally.

An ace - which needed the chair umpire to come down and overturn the original call - secured the second set, and there was not yet an hour on the match clock.

The British No. 1 was in no mood to let his superiority slip as he broke Young again early in the third set. With no pressure at all on his own service games, it was simply a matter of time before he completed the job. He was forced into one superb lob shot to hold serve at 4-2, but set up two match points at 5-3 on Young's serve, and fittingly ended the match on an aggressive return of Young's second serve.

Ward, ranked 175th in the world, was two games from losing the second rubber of the day when he began his rally that gave him a 1-6 7-6(3) 3-6 6-4 6-1 victory.

With dusk approaching and the lights on at the downtown baseball park, Ward won the match with an overhand smash. He leaned back and pumped his fists as his teammates, watching from one side of the court, jumped to their feet in celebration.

"It's great to be around a group of guys you don't really have the support of normally, every week of the year," Ward said "It's certainly a different feeling. You're not just playing for yourself, you're playing for everyone else.

"I thought Sam served really well from the beginning to the first three sets. It wasn't me returning badly. He made a lot of good serves. But in the end I got some chances and it happened.

"Look, I love playing for my country. Every time I do it, it obviously brings something out in me that's a bit different, which I didn't see in the first set."

Saturday's doubles is slated to pit Murray and Colin Fleming against the Bryan brothers.

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