Davis Cup: Andy & Jamie Murray give Britain 2-1 lead against Japan

Andy and Jamie Murray
The Murray brothers have won all five of their Davis Cup doubles matches together
Davis Cup World Group first round: Great Britain v Japan
Date: 4-6 March Venue: Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham Coverage: Live on BBC TV, Radio 5 live sports extra and BBC Sport website

Andy and Jamie Murray joined forces in the doubles to give Great Britain a 2-1 lead in their Davis Cup first-round tie against Japan in Birmingham.

The Scottish brothers beat Yoshihito Nishioka and Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-3 6-2 6-4 to leave the holders one win from a quarter-final place.

Andy Murray will hope to secure victory when he faces Kei Nishikori on Sunday.

Nishikori, the world number six, was rested for Saturday's doubles after beating Dan Evans on Friday.

Evans, ranked 157th, would line up against world number 87 Taro Daniel if a decisive fifth rubber were required.

Captain Leon Smith's decision to play Andy Murray in the doubles resulted in a one-sided win, but it will only be fully vindicated if the British number one can overcome Nishikori on Sunday.

"I know who I'd want going out for my team - it's Andy," Smith told BBC Sport. "It's going to be difficult, Kei's a really good player."

Murrays make short work of doubles

The British brothers did not face a single break point as they saw off Nishioka and Uchiyama in one hour and 53 minutes, taking their Davis Cup record as a doubles team to 5-0.

Jamie Murray (L) and Andy Murray (R) of Great Britain clelebrate with their team captain Leon Smith after winning the second set of the doubles match against Yasutaka Uchiyama and Yoshihito Nishioka
Andy Murray returned to action on Friday for the first time since becoming a father

There was little tension for the majority of the 9,000 crowd to endure as the home side overcame some solid early resistance to dominate.

Both Japanese players are ranked outside the world's top 300 in doubles, in stark contrast to the world number two singles and doubles players across the net.

It was singles star Andy Murray who made the initial breakthrough with a return winner for a 5-3 lead and it was one-way traffic from then on.

Two breaks of serve in the second set left Japan with a mighty task but they held their own in a tight third before Britain broke through at 4-4, Andy Murray sealing victory with an ace.

Andy Murray: "We know each other's games extremely well - so that helps. When the ball goes into a certain part of the court I know what shot he will hit and vice-versa. My strengths and his strengths make a decent team. It was a good win."

Jamie Murray: "We played a great match from start to finish. We were very solid. It wasn't easy because they played some good shots and gave us some tricky moments."

Can Nishikori upset Murray?

Kei Nishikori
Nishikori has won just one of his six matches against Murray

Leon Smith, GB Davis Cup captain: "Andy's playing great despite the fact he hasn't played a lot of matches since the Australian Open final. Look at the last two days, he's ready. You know what Andy's going to do when he goes out; he's going to give 100% again. I think he can do it."

John Lloyd, former GB Davis Cup captain: "Sometimes a break is the best thing for you. Andy looks so eager out there and he's going to run every ball down. I think it's going to be one of the toughest matches possibly Andy has had in Davis Cup but I think he's going to come through. I think he's too good for Nsihikori."

Miles MacLagan, former GB Davis Cup player: "I think it's a tough match for Andy but even tougher for Nishikori. Andy has played two matches but neither have taken a lot out of him. He's serving really well, which is a great sign. As great as Nishikori is, you'd want to have Andy Murray on your team."

Jamie Baker, former GB Davis Cup player: "If Andy and Nishikori played in a best-of-five match 10 times, I'm thinking eight or nine times out of 10 Andy is coming through."

Russell Fuller, BBC tennis correspondent: "Murray says he was a little bit surprised he didn't have to face Nishikori in the doubles, but knows just what a formidable opponent he can be on the singles court. The Scot has home advantage, a superior ranking and a 5-1 head-to-head lead over the world number six, but he didn't have to face anyone ranked this high as Britain won the cup last year. Murray also says he "trusts" Dan Evans - who played well against Nishikori on Friday - and would have a genuinely good chance of winning any fifth and final rubber."

Order of play:

Friday singles

Andy Murray beat Taro Daniel 6-1 6-3 6-1

Kei Nishikori beat Dan Evans 6-3 7-5 7-6 (7-3)

Saturday doubles

Andy Murray & Jamie Murray beat Yoshihito Nishioka & Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-3 6-2 6-4

Sunday reverse singles

Andy Murray v Kei Nishikori

Dan Evans v Taro Daniel

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