Fleming/Marray [GBR] def. Baluda/Kunitsyn [RUS] 6-1, 6-4, 6-2
By Ros Satar
(April 6, 2013) COVENTRY, England – The British team were always the favorites to win this doubles rubber, and Jonny Marray and Colin Fleming did not disappoint.
The British pair, ranked 16th and 28th respectively, were counting on a win, to give the British team any hope at all of salvaging the second round Europe /Africa zone Group 1 tie, after two crushing 5-set defeats on the first day.
Victor Baluda (doubles ranking of 440) and Igor Kunitsyn (439) would be facing the British team, although there had been some speculation that Dmitry Tursunov would replace Baluda.
After some tentative serves into the lights, Marray kicked off his Davis Cup debut with a strong hold.
The Russians may be ranked some 400 places below the Brits, but were already exhibiting some good tagging shots, especially coming from Kunitsyn.
First blood went to the Brits, breaking Kunitsyn to take an early lead.
With another break, this time against Baluda on the third break point, the Brits took the first set, in just under half an hour.
The first break of the second set came even earlier, again on Kunitsyn’s serve, but the Russians stayed in contention, when Kunitsyn held for the first time since the match began, as the Brits maintained a single break margin.
Fleming came out to hold, with an overhead smash from Marray sealing the second set 6-4.
The final set could not have started worse for Russian pair, with Baluda being broken in the first game, followed by Kunitsyn in the next service game.
The crispness that they had started to display in the second set deserted them, and although they got two games on the board, they never took the British pair to deuce on any serve.
Fleming came out to serve for the match, and although the Russian pair saved one of the match points, an ace nailed the win.
After the match, Marray described how he’d felt his debut had gone:
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to be a part of, to get the opportunity to represent your country, it’s fantastic.”
For Fleming, it was his eighth Davis Cup win in a row.
“It’s something to be proud of, but in tennis and life you’ve got to keep pushing forward,” he said.
“It’s all about focusing on what the team needs to do and my aim when it comes to DC, is to play one of those matches in the World group.
“It would be a special occasion and I’ve not managed to do that.”
There was a nice touch on the on-court interview, as Colin Fleming dedicated the win to Davis Cup team-mate Ross Hutchins, who is undergoing treatment for cancer.
He is over half way through his chemotherapy and the initial results show the treatment is working.
Later in press, Leon Smith and Colin Fleming described how Ross had spent hours watching and analyzing the Russian team.
Fleming said: “It’s great that he’s still involved in the team.
“I know Ross has got big plans to play again, and I’m sure he’ll be part of the team again in the future.”
Ros Satar is a British Journalist- an IT journalist by day, and a sports journalist in all the gaps in between. Follow her on twitter at @rfsatar.
Day 2 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Zone Group 1 second round results:
Russia leads Great Britain 2-1
Rubber 1 – D. Tursunov (RUS) d. D. Evans (GBR) 64 67(5) 64 57 64
Rubber 2 – E. Donskoy (RUS) d. J. Ward (GBR) 46 46 75 64 86
Rubber 3 – C.Fleming/J.Marray (GBR) d. V.Baluda/I.Kunitsyn (RUS) 61 64 62