Andy Murray defeated Ivan Dodig 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 today to make it three wins from three this weekend, sealing Great Britain's place back in the World Group for the first time since 2008.
The Wimbledon champion thrashed junior US Open champion Borna Coric 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 on Friday before Ivan Dodig levelled the tie up with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win over Dan Evans. Murray then returned to the court on Saturday alongside Colin Fleming to put Great Britain into a commanding position as they beat Dodig and Mate Pavic 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-1, leaving Britain just one win away.
The world number three got off to the perfect start in the fourth rubber, breaking immediately. A sloppy game allowed Dodig back into it, but Murray responded instantly to regain the advantage, and this time he stuck it out to take the first set 6-4.
(39.5 KB. 564x359 - viewed 27577 times.)
Murray was looking very comfortable on the dirt, and a couple of blistering forehands earned him break points before a stunning reflex stop volley compounded his lead. The Croat, roared on by his home crowd, earned himself a couple of break points down 2-3, but Murray again responded emphatically to fend off the danger. And the Brit raised his level once more, nullifying Dodig's serve and breaking for the fourth time in the match, before serving it out for a 6-4, 6-2 lead.
An emphatic love hold at the start of the third from the Croatian number two gave the home faithful a glimmer of hope. But it lasted little more than a game, before Murray's relentless defence and counter-punching play earned the Brit more break points. He needed only one, and Britain were now on the brink.
Murray powered through the third set with little fuss until the final game, where a couple of incredible winners from Dodig gave the Croatians a slimmer of hope. And then at deuce the Croatian number two looked to have pulled off an unbelievable pass, only for the umpire to over-rule, handing Murray a match point. And, despite the whistles and screams from the home army, Murray saw it out, turning to the British team with an ecstatic grin after a Dodig forehand flew long.
Dan Evans went out afterwards to put the final nail in the coffin, defeating Mate Pavic 6-4, 7-6 to secure a resounding 4-1 victory.
Great Britain can look forward to locking horns with the likes of Spain and Argentina once again next year, just two years after battles with the likes of Luxembourg and Hungary. But they will be perhaps all too aware of how essential Murray is to their chances of surviving amongst the world's elite.