Davis Cup - Brits win doubles to lead before finale

Sat, 11 Feb 15:59:00 2012

Britain's Ross Hutchins and Colin Fleming won their Davis Cup doubles clash against Slovakia's Filip Polasek and Michal Mertinak in Glasgow to give the home side a 2-1 lead going into Sunday's singles.

Ross Hutchins Colin Fleming Davis Cup - 0

Hutchins and Fleming fought their way into a two-set lead before losing the third set without even winning a game - but they rediscovered their timing in the fourth set to close out a 6-3 7-6(4) 0-6 6-3 victory.

The win leaves Britain with a chance of producing an incredible upset victory against a Slovakia team who were red-hot favourites to win the tie.

The match was hard-fought from the start, with excellent serving from Britain's Hutchins and Slovakia's Mertinak meaning that both sides held serve with relative ease at least every other game.

But the weaker serves of Fleming and Polasek gave the two teams something to work with, and Polasek saw his serve broken in the sixth game of the match thanks in large part to two double faults at deuce.

The Slovaks almost hit back immediately with Fleming being taken to several deuces, but the Scot managed to save one with an ace before Polasek fired wide to give the home side an important hold of serve.

Hutchins successfully served out the set two games later, and Britain immediately earned two break points on Polasek's serve to look likely to take the initiative in the second set.

Two deep serves dug the Slovaks out of danger, but after that both sides held easily as the set proceeded to a tie-break. Hutchins and Fleming raced into a 4-1 lead before being pegged back to 4-4, but then won the next three points to go two sets ahead.

The crowd's cheering reverberated around the Braehead Arena, but was silenced almost immediately as the Slovaks broke Hutchins in the first game of the third set. The British duo's concentration had lapsed badly, and the Slovaks broke twice more before winning the set to love in just 24 minutes.

The woe looked set to continue as Slovakia raced to 0-40 on Hutchins's serve in the opening game of the fourth set, but the home duo somehow dug in to hold, thanks mainly to a string of unreturnable serves as the Englishman finally regained his timing.

Hutchins was then the architect five games later as the British pair broke serve for the first time since early in the opening set, hanging back a little rather than charging the net and being rewarded as his stinging forehands unsettled the Slovaks.

Fleming then held serve in style, hitting his second ace of the match to do so, leaving Hutchins to serve out the match.

Slovakia refused to give up easily, pushing the British duo to deuce, but a Fleming volley set up match point and Hutchins finished things off in style with an ace down the middle.


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