Murray and Skupski deliver again as GB reach last eight

Jamie Murray believes a fast start proved crucial as he and Neal Skupski sealed Great Britain's place in a first Davis Cup quarter-final since 2017.

Murray and Skupski - making his Davis Cup debut this week - won the crucial doubles rubber to secure a 2-1 victory over Kazakhstan.

It was the second day in a row that the duo had clinched a win for GB – after doing so against the Netherlands – and they beat Alexander Bublik and Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1 6-4 to set up a last-eight clash against Germany on Friday.

Kyle Edmund had earlier toppled Kukushkin 6-3 6-3 and though Dan Evans was a set away from settling things, Bublik turned things round in their singles tie to beat the Brit 5-7 6-4 6-1 and force a decider.

“We played a great match from start to finish,” said Murray.

“We started really quick, aggressively, didn’t give them time to settle, time to play. I like to come to the net, don’t give these guys time to play.

“I think Neal did a great job both days, played an amazing level of tennis and we’re really happy to get the win and move on to the quarter-finals.”

GB captain Leon Smith added: “It’s tough. The way the format is, it’s tough. The way the courts are – at altitude – everything’s moving quickly, which gives everyone a chance.

“We should be confident now. We’ve got a good squad to choose from; everyone’s been involved, which is really important as well, and we’re looking forward to it.”

Edmund, filling in for Andy Murray, started the day off in confident style against the world number 67 Kukushkin.

The 24-year-old notched 10 aces and 23 winners in a commanding performance as he wrapped things up in just 75 minutes.

"The atmosphere has been amazing, I think we have got the most travelling fans so amazing to get so many people coming here from Britain," he said afterwards.

"I couldn't wait to get out here and it was such a buzz to thrive off the crowd."

Evans was next up on court for GB and looked set to wrap things up at the first time of asking, as he claimed the first set against Bublik 7-5.

But the Kazakh fought back, breaking Evans in the second game before holding out for a 6-4 success and blitzing to victory in the third, 6-1.

Up stepped Murray and Skupski, with GB’s fate in their hands and a buoyant Bublik on the other side of the net.

But the experienced British duo gave their tiring opponents the run-around in the first set, racing to a 6-1 win in quickfire time.

They went a break up early in the second, but Bublik and Kukushkin dug in to break back at 4-4.

That only served to stir the Brits, however, who broke again immediately, before Murray served out for victory. Sportsbeat 2019