Exhausted Andy Murray has set up a potentially epic Davis Cup semi-final against Australia by spearheading Great Britain’s 3-1 quarter-final win over France.
World No.3 Murray clinched his country’s first semi-final berth for 34 years with a 4-6 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 6-0 win over Gilles Simon, sealing the tie 3-1 after playing three days in succession at Queen’s Club in London.
The 28-year-old’s 23rd win from 25 Davis Cup singles matches secured a first victory over old rivals France since 1978 and took Britain back to the last four for the first time since 1981.
Murray, who won both singles matches and the doubles with brother Jamie, said: “It feels unbelievable to get through. I used up my last ounces of energy.
“It wasn’t looking good in the second set. I was making too many mistakes but I didn’t care how I played. I just wanted to win.
“The whole weekend has been fantastic. This team has done amazing things. We are punching above our weight.”
Britain haven’t won the Davis Cup since 1936 and their last final appearance came in 1978.
They will host Australia in the last four in September, while Belgium and Argentina meet in the other semi-final.
Australia were also the opposition when Britain last won a semi-final in 1978.
Lleyton Hewitt, 34, and playing in his record 40th Cup tie, sealed Australia’s 3-2 victory over Kazakhstan in Darwin with a gritty 7-6 (7/2) 6-2 6-3 win in the fifth rubber over Aleksandr Nedovyesov.
It was the first time in 76 years that 28-time champions Australia had clawed back from 0-2 down to win a Davis Cup tie.
“I love the back-against-the-wall situation and that’s what we had after day one,” Hewitt said amid high emotion.
“We rallied together and found a way to win.”
While it was Hewitt who won the final live rubber in the teams competition, it was Sam Groth who kept the tie alive for his country with a hard-fought 6-3 7-6 (8/6) 4-6 7-6 (8/6) win over Mikhail Kukushkin.
The host nation looked on the brink of being dumped from the competition when they trailed 0-2 after Friday’s singles following defeats by youngsters Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios.
Hewitt and Groth kept the Australians in the tie with a straight sets doubles win over Andrey Golubev and Nedovyesov on Saturday, setting up a tense final day.
September’s other semi-final will see Belgium host Argentina after both sides sealed their last-four spots on Saturday with 3-0 wins over Canada and Serbia respectively.