Murray gives GB shot at more glory

Andy Murray opened the new tennis season the way he ended the last one – inspiring Great Britain to yet another victory.

Murray, who almost single-handedly guided his country to Davis Cup success late last year, teamed up with Heather Watson to beat France 2-1 in the Hopman Cup in Perth on Monday night.

The world No.2 cruised through his singles match with Kenny de Schepper 6-2 6-2 in 58 minutes after the Frenchman was a late replacement for Gael Monfils.

The tie was all square after Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia beat Watson 6-3 5-7 6-3 in two hours 17 minutes, setting up a deciding mixed doubles.

The Brits won 6-2 5-7 10-6 with the encounter settled in a thrilling match tiebreak.

Great Britain now face the Australian Green team of Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova on Wednesday night and Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Sabine Lisicki on Friday.

France must beat both this week to be a contender for the final. Murray was happy with his first outing since leading Great Britain to a drought breaking Davis Cup triumph 79 years in the making.

“It was good and I played well. Everything was working pretty good and I was able to dictate a lot of points and finish off a lot of points at the net,” Murray said.

“It’s quite a quick surface here so if you can get the first strike in the rallies it’s quite easy to stay on top of the point if you force yourself to come forward, and I did that well.”

Meanwhile, Garcia impressed in her three-set win over Watson and the 22-year-old world No.34 was happy with her start to 2016.

“It’s always good to win the first match of the year,” Garcia said.

“You have hard work behind you and you want this to happen on the court. It’s great to be back into competition and to win again in the end in that kind of match.”

Tuesday will begin with the Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov and Elina Svitolina taking on the Czech Republic’s Jiri Vesely and Karolina Pliskova. Both won their opening ties.

In the evening, the USA will take on the Australian Gold team of Lleyton Hewitt and Jarmila Wolfe.

The focus is on whether Serena Williams will take her place with Jack Sock. She withdrew on Monday citing knee soreness and was replaced by Vicky Duval.

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