British duo Skupski and Fleming win Davis Cup doubles
British duo Skupski and Fleming were pushed hard by their opponents after racing into an early lead
Great Britain went 2-1 up in their Davis Cup tie with Lithuania after Ken Skupski and Colin Fleming won 6-0 6-7 (2-7) 7-5 6-3 in the doubles.
After a 19-minute first set there were no breaks of serve in the second before Dovydas Sakinis and Laurynas Grigelis levelled the match for the hosts.
Great Britain then broke in the 12th game of the third set and sixth game of the fourth to wrap up the victory.
Britain now need to win one of Sunday's two reverse singles to take the tie.
From the moment they broke their hosts to love in the opening game, it was clear the British duo were keen to get the job done as soon as possible, rattling through the first set without losing a game.
But the one-sided nature of the set proved to be a false dawn for the rest of the match.
Maybe the British pair dropped their guard after such an easy start, but the Lithuanians put up far greater resistance in the second, showing more belief when serving, and threatening to break in the sixth game.
The home crowd responded enthusiastically to their team's improved performance and were hugely fired-up when a point-blank double-handed overhead return by Grigelis made it 6-5.
Great Britain survived set point on the Skupski serve to take an extremely close set to a tie-break.
The first extended rally of the match came on the second point of the tie-break, which was taken by the home pair as they went on to open up a 5-0 lead.
A Skupski winner and Grigelis double-fault at least saved Great Britian from the ignominy of being whitewashed in the tie-break, but the Lithuanians' momentum was irresistible as they levelled the match.
The third went with serve for the first 11 games, until Grigelis double-faulted to hand the game and the set to Great Britain.
The visitors gained the upper hand in the fourth set when they broke Sakinis for the first time since the opening set, courtesy of a fine Skupski return, and Fleming held his serve to put them within touching distance of victory.
Grigelis survived three match points to hold his serve but Skupski made no mistake to serve out the match and secure Great Britain's first Davis Cup doubles win since 2007.
Afterwards, the pair were delighted with their success on their Davis Cup debut.
I expected this scoreline after two days. I would have loved to have 3-0 but plans are still where they are
Team captain John Lloyd
"We feel like we've merited our place in this tie, it's something we've always wanted to do," said Fleming.
Skupski added: "They played great tennis today. We were professional about our tennis and we got the win."
Team captain John Lloyd praised the pair for the patience they had demonstrated, and said it set things up nicely for Sunday's final singles matches.
"It's a nice feeling to be ahead going into the final day, I'm feeling very good," he said.
"I expected this scoreline after two days. I would have loved to have 3-0 but plans are still where they are. Now we've got to win one of these singles, and I think we can do it. "
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