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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 February 2008, 17:23 GMT
Argentina end GB hopes in doubles
By Piers Newbery

Jamie Murray and Ross Hutchins
Murray and Hutchins were playing together for the first time
Argentina v Great Britain
Date: 8-10 Feb (Sunday, 1300 GMT)
Venue: Parque Roca, Buenos Aires
Coverage: Live on BBCi, BBC TWO and BBC Sport website (UK users only)

Argentina ended Great Britain's hopes of a first Davis Cup quarter-final since 1986 by winning Saturday's doubles for an unassailable 3-0 lead.

The home side had won both opening singles matches in Buenos Aires on Friday, and David Nalbandian and Jose Acasuso completed the job on Saturday.

Britain's Jamie Murray and Ross Hutchins could not cope with the Argentines, losing 6-2 7-6 (13-11) 6-0.

The remaining two singles matches on Sunday will now be dead rubbers.

"I thought the boys put in a tremendous performance today," said Great Britain captain John Lloyd.

"The score doesn't reflect how tough the match was.

"Argentina were very sharp and played the big points very well. Nalbandian is a class player - I don't think he made a single unforced error in those first two sets."

606: DEBATE
Cricketing_stargazer

Britain had arrived in Argentina as huge underdogs following the withdrawal of top player Andy Murray through injury.

It was no surprise, therefore, that Jamie Baker and Alex Bogdanovic were heavily beaten in the singles on Friday.

Lloyd had targeted the doubles as the visitors' best chance of securing a point but the signs were bad when Davis Cup debutant Hutchins dropped his first service game.

After the Britons missed three break points in game six, Hutchins was then broken again as Nalbandian attacked on the return and Argentina eased to the first set.

The second set began with break point chances for both pairs before two fierce Nalbandian backhands made the breakthrough in game three.

It was not until the seventh game of the second set that Hutchins finally held serve for the first time and it boosted the British pair, who broke back and then moved 5-4 ahead with some momentum.

The British team rose their level a bit but went down emotionally after losing the second set

Argentina team captain Alberto Mancini

With the crowd finally treated to a contest for the first time in the tie, the set came down to a tie-break and it proved a dramatic contest in itself.

Hutchins played a leading role as the British pair saved four set points and earned three of their own, and it was harsh that his volley into the net eventually handed Argentina the set on the 24th point.

It was a crushing blow and Argentina took full advantage, breaking Hutchins at the start of the third and wrapping up victory, after a rain delay, in two hours 28 minutes.

"The British team rose their level a bit but the first set was very good for us," said Argentina captain Alberto Mancini.

"They went down emotionally after losing the second set."

Great Britain will next face a play-off in September for the right to stay in the 16-team World Group - a fixture for which they will certainly need Andy Murray to feature.

Two-time finalists Argentina will meet either Sweden or Israel in the quarter-finals in April.

Mancini added: "Our goal is to win Davis Cup. We hope Sweden wins because we would face them at home."

SEE ALSO
Davis Cup photos
07 Feb 08 |  Tennis
Murray commits to next GB match
07 Feb 08 |  Tennis
Murray to miss GB Davis Cup tie
30 Jan 08 |  Tennis


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