GLASGOW: Andy Murray gave Great Britain a flying start in their Davis Cup semi-final against Australia with a 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 victory over Thanasi Kokkinakis on Friday.
World number three Murray took under two hours to see off the challenge of the 19-year-old Australian on the hard court of the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.
“It was a huge match and I’m glad I managed to put on a good performance,” said Murray.
Britain haven’t beaten Australia in the Davis Cup since 1978, with the 28-times winners securing victory in their last three meetings, the most recent of which came in 2003 when Australia last won the trophy.
Two-time major winner Murray, roared on by a home crowd in Scotland, looked determined from the outset to help Britain make amends for that and take a step closer to a first victory in the competition since 1936.
It was Murray’s first match since suffering the disappointment of a fourth round defeat to Kevin Anderson in the US Open.
“I didn’t help my team very much there but he didn’t make it easy,” a dejected Kokkinakis said.
At Brussels, David Goffin gave hosts Belgium the first point of their Davis Cup world group semi-final clash against Argentina beating Federico Delbonis 7-5, 7-6 (7/3) 6-3.
Leonardo Mayer will bid to pull the South Americans back into the tie when he takes on Steve Darcis at the 8,000-capacity Forest National arena south-west of Brussels.
“My rival didn’t give anything away and it was a difficult match but I got through in three sets because I was tough mentally,” said Goffin.
“I had no doubts, I was always ahead,” added the 15th-ranked player.
Neither country has ever won the Davis Cup with Belgium rea¬ch¬ing the final just once in 1904.
Belgium will meet either Great Britain or Australia in the finals.
In New Delhi, a shock straight sets victory by the unfancied Somdev Devvarman over Jiri Vesley saw the hosts India draw level with the Czech Republic.
Devvarman, ranked 164, thrived in the sweltering heat and humidity at the R. K. Khanna Stadium in New Delhi as he notched up a 7-6, 6-4 6-3 win against the world number 40 in the second singles match.
In the opening rubber, Lukas Rosol beat India’s number one player Yuki Bhambri 6-2 6-1 7-5 to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
With the mercury touching 35 degrees celsius (94 degrees Fahrenheit), players were often seen reaching out for ice towels and chilled water bottles.
“I enjoy playing here. Without the support of the crowd it would not have been possible to win under these conditions,” Devvarman said after the match which lasted two hours and 40 minutes.
“We are just level now and I am sure the boys will come out firing tomorrow (Saturday). It’s all about team effort.”