Murray delights Britain, Kazakhstan shock Russia
Perth: Andy Murray shrugged off sunburn to lead Britain to a second consecutive victory at the Hopman Cup on Wednesday, beating Germany 2-1 to move to the verge of a surprise place in the final of the mixed team event.
An inspired performance from Andrey Golubev also helped Kazakhstan topple Russia 2-1 in one of the biggest shocks the tournament has produced.
Murray may have misjudged the strength of the Perth sun but he timed everything else to perfection as Britain went top of Group B.
“My back is on fire,” he told reporters after trouncing Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-1. “I practised yesterday with my shirt off and I got so, so burnt.
“(But) I served really well and didn`t really give him too many chances on my serve. I think that was the main difference.”
Britain will reach the final if they beat Russia in their last round-robin match on Friday, though the Russians and Kazakhstan could also still qualify ahead of them.
Laura Robson, 15, pushed German Sabine Lisicki hard before going down 7-6, 6-3 but world number four Murray then made light work of Kohlschreiber.
Murray and Robson followed up by winning the mixed doubles 6-3, 6-2.
Scot Murray has vowed to be more aggressive in 2010 and he was true to his word as he stormed 4-1 clear thanks to some crisp hitting.
The only blip came when he dropped his serve in the seventh game and Kohlschreiber levelled at 4-4 but he broke again to win the set and then roared through the second in 17 minutes.
Robson served for the first set against world number 22 Lisicki before the German fought back to snatch the tiebreak 7-5 and then ease through the second.
Russia were expected to beat qualifiers Kazakhstan but they did not count on Golubev who belied his ranking of 133 with a brilliant display.
Yaroslava Shvedova was crushed 6-3, 6-1 by world number five Elena Dementieva but Golubev beat Igor Andreev 6-4, 6-3 and the Kazakh pair won the mixed doubles 7-6, 6-4.
“Today was a very good day for me,” Golubev said. “First I played great in singles and we played really good in doubles.
“We were one point away from beating Britain and now we win today. It was really good. I hope we can make the final.”