Davis Cup: Andy Murray beats Gilles Simon in four sets

Andy Murray in action against France's Gilles Simon in the Davis Cup at the Queen's Club in London. Picture: AP
Andy Murray in action against France's Gilles Simon in the Davis Cup at the Queen's Club in London. Picture: AP
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Great Britain are through to the Davis Cup semi-finals for the first time in 34 years after Andy Murray came from a set down to beat France’s Gilles Simon.

Murray was playing his third match in as many days and fatigue looked to have taken its toll when he trailed Simon by a set and a break, but the Scot dug deep to win 4-6 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 6-0.

The victory handed Britain an unassailable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five tie and sets up a mouthwatering clash with Australia in the last four.

Murray gave Simon early encouragement with a number of sloppy shots and the Frenchman broke in the third game, unleashing a superb forehand winner down the line.

Simon was sharp and even a nasty slip at 4-3, which required treatment on his right knee, could not derail the world number 11, who served out the first set with ease.

Murray had tried to capitalise on his opponent’s injury with drop shots but Simon looked much the fresher of the pair and maintained his charge with a break in the first game of the second.

His troubles deepening, Murray chucked his racquet into the turf to a chorus of jeers from the jubilant French fans and Simon could have clinched a double break, and surely a two-set lead, if he had converted another break point at 4-2.

Murray looked drained, as every error finished with a slump, and after one particularly exhausting rally was lost, he dropped to his knees seemingly in desperation.

Body language with Murray, however, is rarely definitive and as Simon failed to land a knock-out blow, the Scot hit back, winning four games out of six to force a tie-break.

Unforced errors allowed Simon to race into a 4-1 lead but again the Frenchman was too generous as Murray lost just one of the next seven points to level at one-set all.

Whether it was the packs of sushi at changes of ends or the ecstatic home crowd, Murray appeared a man transformed, as he clinched two breaks at the start of the third to open up a 3-0 lead.

Simon checked his opponent’s momentum with one break back but it was not enough, as a superb Murray lob wrapped up the set to put the Briton in front.

Consistency and movement had been key to Simon’s earlier success but both began to waver as groundshots missed their mark and then another slip allowed Murray an easy volley and an early break in the fourth.

Simon again had to take treatment, this time for his left ankle, but the stoppage did nothing to halt his opponent, who claimed a second break when Simon slapped a simple volley into the net.

Leading 5-0, Murray wrapped up victory when a Simon backhand flew wide and the Scot could hardly hold back the tears as he leapt about the court with a Union Flag in hand before embracing his triumphant captain Leon Smith.