Andy Murray levels Davis Cup final with win for Great Britain

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Flanders Expo, Ghent
Highlights: Andy Murray levels Davis Cup tie
Davis Cup final: Belgium v Great Britain
Venue: Flanders Expo, Ghent Dates: 27-29 November
BBC coverage: Watch on BBC television, BBC Sport website, Connected TVs, tablets, mobiles and app and listen on Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra. Full details.

Andy Murray brought Great Britain level at 1-1 against Belgium in the Davis Cup final with victory over Ruben Bemelmans in Ghent.

The world number two won a feisty encounter 6-3 6-2 7-5, after David Goffin had earlier beaten debutant Kyle Edmund 3-6 1-6 6-2 6-1 6-0.

Andy and Jamie Murray are set to team up in the doubles on Saturday, before the reverse singles on Sunday.

Britain are trying to win the team title for the first time since 1936.

Davis Cup: Andy Murray's 'point of the day'

"Obviously on paper it's what people would have expected," GB captain Leon Smith said of the day one score.

He will now hope that a combination of the Murray brothers in doubles, and Andy Murray in the reverse singles, will secure Britain's first Davis Cup victory for 79 years.

Smith retains the option of bringing in James Ward for Edmund, should the contest come down to a decisive fifth rubber on Sunday.

The best-of-five tie takes place over three days at the Flanders Expo, with around 1,300 travelling fans among 13,000 in the arena, and security tight following the recent high state of alert in Belgian capital Brussels.

Fired-up Murray hauls Britain level

Andy Murray
Andy Murray saved a set point at 4-5 in the third set

Edmund might have raised the prospect of an unlikely 2-0 lead, but once again it was Murray who got the scoreboard moving for Britain.

There was plenty of tension on display, despite the regulation look to the scoreline, and the Briton was docked a point during a tetchy third set for repeated audible obscenities.

"I didn't actually hear I'd been given the second warning," said Murray. "It's obviously very loud after the point.

"That was why I went to speak to the umpire, because literally I had no idea about either of the warnings because you can't hear anything on the court. So I'm surprised he could hear what I was saying."

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Belgium captain Johan van Herck was warned about the noise made by the home crowd as Murray played the pantomime villain, celebrating wildly when he saved a set point in the third.

A straightforward afternoon had looked on the cards when he broke four times across the first two sets, but by midway through the third, he and Smith were berating umpire Carlos Ramos and the match referee as the atmosphere crackled.

Bemelmans played a superb game to break for a 4-2 lead but it only served to fire up Murray, who hit straight back and moved 6-5 up after one blistering forehand return, before closing it out on serve.

"The crowd were getting wound up and you have to use that your advantage," he said. "It was a good atmosphere and it is going to be tough over the next couple of days."

Edmund emotional after defeat

Davis Cup final: Kyle Edmund loses to David Goffin despite two-set lead

Edmund, the British number two, was distraught at the end of his Davis Cup debut, after a spectacular start had turned into a collapse with the loss of 14 of the last 15 games.

"You're playing for your country, you're playing for your team-mates," said the Yorkshireman. "You feel like you've let them down.

"I'll look back on it and I'll say I did my best. But you're right in the moment, you're emotionally attached to it. You're just disappointed you couldn't do it for your team."

Asked if he would be able to play again on Sunday if required, Edmund insisted: "I'll be ready to go."

GB miss out on glorious start

David Goffin
David Goffin had not lost a set in Davis Cup singles this year until playing Edmund

Edmund became the sixth man in 115 years to make his Davis Cup debut in the final, and for two sets looked like becoming the first debutant to win a live rubber.

He saved two break points in a gripping opening game that lasted 12 minutes, and went on to dominate for the next hour with his huge forehand.

Goffin, 24, needed 34 minutes to get on the scoreboard at 5-1 down and his game all but disintegrated under heavy hitting as Edmund took seven straight games, and a two-set lead.

A wayward forehand from the Briton early in the third handed Goffin the break, and at last a lead, and the Belgian grew in confidence as Edmund wilted.

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller
"After two sets of this Davis Cup final, Edmund seemed tantalisingly close to giving Britain an advantage they would be unlikely to relinquish. But the balance of power can shift very quickly in a five-set match and Goffin's storming comeback ultimately left the 20 year old well short.
"Edmund was exceptional for the first two sets, but had only played one match over five sets before and the tension of the occasion crept into his legs. The doubles will be as important as we always thought it would be."

The forehand that had provided 14 winners in the first two sets produced just four in the third and fourth as he was quickly hauled back to two sets all, and a fifth set loomed for only the second time in his career.

Goffin had four five-set wins to his name, and with the crowd now well and truly energised he reeled off 14 of 15 games to claim a first victory from two sets down after two hours and 47 minutes.

"I was cramping up," Edmund added. "I lost confidence in my movement and it was bugging me."

Goffin said: "Kyle played an unbelievable first two sets. He was really aggressive with his forehand. I tried to stay calm, to manage it very well. People expected me to win the match, and that's what I did."

Lively atmosphere but fans 'didn't cross the line'

Giant cardboard cut-out of David Goffin
A giant cardboard cut-out of David Goffin in the crowd proved a surreal sight

Davis Cup ties usually get a little overheated at some stage, but it was still something of a surprise to see just how tightly wound everybody became on the first afternoon of the final.

Crowds started gathering several hours before the start of play, perhaps with the widely publicised increase in security checks in mind, and the visiting support seemed to account for more than the official 10% of spectators.

Amid the giant cardboard cut-outs of Belgian players' heads, and the well-practised team chanting of the British supporters, there were a few early casualties of the ample refreshment on offer.

Interruptions to play and calls for quiet from the umpire are nothing new in Davis Cup ties, although the Belgian tactic of trying to "sshhh" Murray between serves was eventually deemed out of bounds by umpire Ramos.

"I didn't think they crossed the line, to be honest," said Murray.

"But as the server, I'm not going to serve when the crowd are making any noise because it's off-putting. That's something that in tennis is a rule really."

Belgium's captain Van Herck said: "I feel the crowd for a Davis Cup was very respectful. OK, there was noise, but there will always be noise. I didn't feel like we should get any warning or discussion about the public."

Kyle Edmund plays David Goffin in the Davis Cup final at the Flanders Expo
The Flanders Expo was quietened in the first two sets by Kyle Edmund's fast start
David Goffin
Goffin got the home fans going with his superb fightback
GB fans
But British supporters were in full voice at the end as Murray levelled the tie
Andy Murray and Ruben Bemelmans
Two more wins from Murray would secure the Davis Cup for Great Britain

Match summary

Belgium 1-1 Great Britain
Day oneDavid Goffin beats Kyle Edmund; Andy Murray beats Ruben Bemelmans
Day twoKimmer Coppejans/Steve Darcis v Jamie Murray/Andy Murray
Day threeDavid Goffin v Andy Murray, Ruben Bemelmans v Kyle Edmund

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