Andy Murray gives Britain Davis Cup title after 79 years

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GHENT, Belgium (AP) Andy Murray gave Britain its first Davis Cup title in 79 years when he beat Belgium’s David Goffin 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 in the first of reverse singles Sunday.

The win gave Britain an unassailable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five series and the final singles match was not played.

“I can’t believe we did it,” Murray said on court. “We may never get an opportunity to do this again. We should celebrate tonight.”

Britain is the only nation to have competed in all Davis Cup editions since 1900 and its 10th title makes it the third most successful nation after the United States (32) and Australia (28).

But it was a long way coming. Britain last won it in 1936 with Fred Perry as its star and last played in the final in 1978.

Murray, ranked No. 2 in the world, is unbeaten in Davis Cup play this year.

After hitting a backhand lob that clinched the match, Murray fell on his back on the clay at the Flanders Expo arena.

His teammates piled atop him but Murray was quick to wiggle himself out and ran toward the Belgian bench to congratulate his opponents, before being hoisted by his teammates.

Murray, who ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s Wimbledon champion in 2013, then sat on the British team’s bench, his face hidden behind a Union Jack flag. He now has two Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal to go with the Davis Cup title.

Murray became only the third player after John McEnroe in 1982 and Mats Wilander in 1983 to achieve an 8-0 singles record in one calendar year since the introduction of the World Group in 1981.

After teaming with brother Jamie to win the doubles on Saturday, he is the first player since Pete Sampras in 1995 to win three live matches in a Davis Cup final. He is also only the second player to win 11 live matches in the same Davis Cup year after Ivan Ljubicic in 2005.

McEnroe had a 12-0 record in 1982 and Michael Stich had 11 wins in 1993.

Murray had brought Britain back into contention on the opening day by beating Ruben Bemelmans in straight sets. He then teamed with brother Jamie to win Saturday’s doubles.

Goffin, ranked No. 16, has not won a set against Murray in two previous matches on the tour.

The Belgian appeared to get a glimmer of hope when he broke Murray’s serve for a 2-0 lead in the third set. Goffin came back from two sets down for the first time in his career to beat Kyle Edmund in the opening singles.

With nine sets of tennis over two days behind him, Goffin was unable to sustain the momentum and dropped his serve in the very next game. A sizzling backhand cross-court winner had given Murray two break points and Goffin then played a forehand wide.

But the Belgian was not finished and again broke to make it 2-2.

Murray hit a service winner and an ace to come out unscathed despite facing a break point in the next game. Then, as many times during the match, he pounced on Goffin’s second serve to break the Belgian at love and regain the initiative.

Murray wasted the first match point by netting a backhand return. But the final lob was a superb shot to finish the long quest for the title as the loud British supporters exploded in joy.

Top-ranked Swiatek, Kvitova reach quarters at Agel Open

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Top-ranked Iga Swiatek advanced to the quarterfinals of the Agel Open after Ajla Tomljanovic retired with an injury during the second set of their second-round match on Wednesday.

The Polish U.S. Open champion was leading 7-5, 2-2 when her Australian opponent retired due to a left knee injury at the indoor hardcourt event in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava.

Swiatek, who also won the French Open in June, will next face American qualifier Catherine McNally or Karolina Muchova.

Home favorite and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova upset second-seeded Paula Badosa of Spain 7-6 (4), 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against this year’s Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina, who rallied to eliminate Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-5.

Czech players also won the last two first-round matches on the schedule.

Muchova knocked out seventh-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-4, 6-4 and Barbora Krejcikova ousted American Shelby Rogers 6-2, 6-2 for her sixth straight victory after she won the Tallinn Open on Sunday for her first WTA title of the year.

Djokovic near flawless to reach second round in Astana

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan – Novak Djokovic delivered a near-flawless performance to ease into the second round of the Astana Open with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Cristian Garin on Wednesday as he goes for a third straight tournament title.

Djokovic dropped just six points on his serve and won the last five games to seal the win in just 62 minutes.

Djokovic is coming off a victory in Tel Aviv last week and – aside from a match at the Laver Cup – the Wimbledon champion hasn’t lost since the French Open quarterfinals.

“From the start to the end, (it was) a great performance,” Djokovic said. “Playing in a new tournament, different conditions, the first match is never easy. Obviously you are looking to see how you are going to adapt, but I did it perfectly, really, played as well as I can.”

Djokovic will next play Botic van de Zandschulp.

Top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz lost in the opening round on Tuesday in his first match since winning the U.S. Open title to capture the No. 1 spot.

Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the quarterfinals by beating 19-year-old Luca Nardi of Italy 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3). Nardi was playing just his fifth tour-level main-draw match and impressed the third-seeded Greek, who didn’t earn a single break point.

“He’s a player that can play very well in the future,” Tsitsipas said. “There weren’t any holes. I believe today he was able to sustain that level from the beginning to end, and that was extremely impressive.”

Roberto Bautista Agut also reached the quarterfinals as he followed up his first-round upset of Felix Auger-Aliassime by beating Pavel Kotov 6-1, 7-6 (5).

Marin Cilic, who lost the Tel Aviv final to Djokovic, had to come from behind to beat Oscar Otte 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the first round to set up a round-of-16 match against Karen Khachanov.