GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Andy Murray beat John Isner in straight sets to give Britain an unassailable 3-1 lead in the Davis Cup on Sunday.
The fifth-ranked Murray overcame a wobbly start in the first reverse singles to win 7-6 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (4) at Emirates Arena and clinch a first-round victory over the Americans for the second straight year.
Britain will host France in the quarterfinals on July 17-19, with Murray stating in the post-match interview on court that his preference would be to play on a grass court.
The big-serving Isner began superbly but couldn’t convert any of his seven break-point chances in the first set. Three of those were set points.
Isner made a double-fault on the opening point of the tiebreaker for the only break of serve. Murray, playing in the city of his birth, broke once in the second set and sealed victory with an ace on his second match point.
Moments after his 16th ace of the match had drifted away from Isner, Murray gave Britain captain Leon Smith a long embrace and then high-fived and hugged his teammates. He then walked back onto the court, looked up and let out a huge roar in front of the 7,700-capacity crowd.
“It was one of the most special atmospheres I have ever played in,” said Murray, who was playing in Scotland for the first time since 2013.
“To be in the quarterfinals for a second year when it hasn’t happened for so long is incredible.”
Britain hadn’t been in the last eight of the World Group before last year since 1986.
Like in 2014, the U.S. team is relegated to the World Group playoffs and will need to win to stay in the group.
Losing the first set was a huge blow to Isner, who looked dejected on his bench as he was consoled by U.S. captain Jim Courier. Murray didn’t make a dent in Isner’s huge serve and scrambled to hold his own as his slow, often short second serve was dismantled.
Isner had two good looks at two second serves on set points in the 10th game, but slammed a forehand long after a tense rally before slapping a return into the net. Murray saved a third set point with an ace.
Ironically, it was his serve that let Isner down in the tiebreaker, with the opening double-fault a rare lapse. A backhand return for 5-2 kept up Murray’s momentum and Isner returned into the net on set point.
A fist-pumping Murray wheeled away in celebration after the securing the only break of the second set in the sixth game, when his perfectly judged lob ran away from 6-foot-10 (2.08-meter) Isner, whose turning circle was slow.
The third set also went with serve to the tiebreaker. Murray went a mini-break up with a smash in the fourth point and, after sending a backhand into the net on his first match point, he made no mistake on his next opportunity.
Britain’s path to victory followed the same course as last year in San Diego — two wins in the opening-day singles, a defeat in the doubles, and a win for Murray in the first reverse singles.
This article was written by Steve Douglas from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.