All square after opening day in Ghent
Originally published on 27/11/15
Murray, who is unbeaten in the Davis Cup this season, had never played world No.108 Bemelmans, but despite saving set point in the third set, managed to win in straight sets, 6-3 6-2 7-5.
The world No.2 will now turn his attentions to what could be a decisive doubles rubber on Saturday, when he will partner brother Jamie against Steve Darcis and Kimmer Coppejans – although both Goffin and Bemelmans could be drafted in by Belgium captain Johan van Herck.
After an early exchange of breaks, Murray soon took control of the contest, chasing down a number of drop shots from Bemelmans to rattle through the opening set. A backhand passing shot secured an early break in the second as Murray, keen to conserve energy for Saturday’s doubles match, looked to be firmly on course for a routine straight-sets victory.
He suffered a slight wobble in the third as he was broken in the sixth game after receiving a point penalty for an audible obscenity, and despite breaking straight back was forced to save set point when he served at 4-5, but he kept his cool to wrap up victory in straight sets.
"The third set was tricky, I had a few chances at the beginning of the set but didn't get it," Murray told BBC Sport. "When the new balls came out he started going for his shots. But I fought hard at the end and it was good to get off in straight sets.
"The crowd were getting wound up which is normal and you have to use that to your advantage as much as you can. It was a good atmosphere and it’s going to be tough for the next few days. It’s a big match tomorrow but me and Jamie have played some good doubles this year and hopefully we can do the same tomorrow."
In the day’s opening rubber Edmund led by two sets to love before Belgian No.1 Goffin roared back for a 3-6 1-6 6-2 6-1 6-0 victory. Edmund, who is only the sixth man in the the history of the competition to make his Davis Cup debut in the final, took a surprise lead against Goffin and looked like he could make history, becoming the first debutant to win a live rubber in a final.
Goffin, who appeared to struggle with the pressure in front of a vocal Belgian crowd in Ghent, needed 34 minutes to get on the scoreboard as Edmund dominated the opening exchanges with his powerful forehand. The world No.16 had never before come from two sets down to win a match before, but with Edmund one set away from an historic win, Goffin began to settle into his rhythm and his superior fitness proved the difference as he won 14 of the last 15 games to clinch victory after two hours and 47 minutes.
"I was cramping up," said Edmund, who had only played one five-set match in his career before. "I lost confidence in my movement and it was bugging me. You're playing for your country, you're playing for your team-mates. You feel like you've let them down. I'll look back on it and I'll say I did my best. But you're right in the moment, you're emotionally attached to it. You're just disappointed you couldn't do it for your team.”
Goffin said: “Kyle played an unbelievable first two sets. He was really aggressive with his forehand. He played with his forehand with a lot of power. It was tough to manage it because I didn’t know Kyle before the match, how he plays. I was a little bit worried because Kyle was playing unbelievable. He just had nothing to lose. He played a wonderful match, but I knew I had a chance and I had to take it.”