Mikhail Kukushkin beat Viktor Troicki 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 as Kazakhstan tied Serbia 1-1 after the first day of their Davis Cup first-round tie on Friday.
In Birmingham, the Murray brothers edged Britain closer to the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka and Yakutaka Uchiyama.
The visiting duo completed a convincing 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5 victory to hand Kazakhstan a 2-1 lead heading into Sunday’s singles.
The sides, who between them boast the top two players in the world in Murray and Novak Djokovic, will clash in July, less than a week after the Wimbledon final. The victor will face Britain in the next round. “We know how to prepare and we have many reasons to believe we can turn this around”. “Thank you Novak for the awesome victory”.
2, had seemed set for a comfortable afternoon against his sixth-ranked opponent by taking the first two sets against a player he had defeated five times in six previous encounters.
Murray, however, responded in “typical teeth-gritting fashion” to win the next three games.
Djokovic last lost in the tournament in 2011 – against Juan Martin del Potro through a retirement in the semi-finals that Serbia lost 3-2 to Argentina and alongside Zimonjic in a 4-1 win over Sweden in the first round that year. “I have seen him play several times, but I am cautious because surprises are possible in such matches”.
Both players had upped their game and produced some of the scintillating and exciting tennis with long and exhausting rallies but it was Murray who eventually able to slog it out in just under five hours.
Earlier, Philipp Kohlschreiber leveled the first-round tie at 2-2 after Tomas Berdych retired due to a right thigh injury with the German leading 6-3, 7-5. Marco Cecchinato beat Adrien Bossel 6-3, 7-5 and Paolo Lorenzi defeated Antoine Bellier 6-3, 6-2.
Gilles Simon will take on Vasek Pospisil in the second singles match, and Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are set to take on Philip Bester and Pospisil in doubles.
The winners face either Germany or the Czech Republic, champions in 2012 and 2013, in the next round.
Argentina leads Poland 2-0 in Gdansk as Guido Pella beat Michal Przysiezny 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (5) and Leonardo Mayer defeated Hubert Hurkacz 6-2, 7-6 (3), 6-2.