Great Britain ended their short-lived 2022 Davis Cup campaign with a 2-1 victory over Kazakhstan in their final Group D encounter.
Having seen their hopes of qualifying past the group stage ended by the USA and Netherlands, Andy Murray was the first to restore some parity for GB against Dmitry Popko.
Despite being broken in the third game of the contest, Murray won five of the final six games in the first set as he raised his level in front of the home crowd.
After storming into a 3-0 lead in the second set, Murray had Popko exactly where he wanted him and took just one hour and 28 minutes to wrap up a 6-4 6-3 victory.
Murray posted a 78% win rate on his first serve and hit a total of 24 winners – 11 on his backhand – but the three-time Grand Slam winner has hinted that he may not represent GB at a Davis Cup tournament again.
“Hopefully we get another opportunity to play here in the future, and hopefully I’m still in a position to get selected, but it’s not getting any easier,” Murray said on the court.
“I’m glad I got out there and played today. They [the crowd] did make it special. If it is the last time, it’s been amazing what they’ve done for the team.”
Cameron Norrie was next up for GB as he sought to emulate Murray’s triumph against Alexander Bublik, but the British number one fell to a 4-6 3-6 defeat in just over an hour.
After both players were broken in their opening service games, Bublik took the match by the scruff of the neck to move 5-4 up and confidently serve for the set following a fifth ace.
Norrie had not looked himself throughout the Davis Cup campaign and double-faulted right off the bat in the second set, with Bublik managing to break straight away.
Bublik would continue to rack up the aces in the second set, and despite being taken to deuce in the ninth game, a simple forehand saw the Kazakhstani number one wrap up a two-set win.
For the third time in this year’s Davis Cup, GB would be forced into a deciding doubles match, where Neal Skupski and Joe Salisbury were taken to three tie-breaks against Bublik and Aleksandr Nedovyesov.
Two straight aces saw GB clinch the first-set tie-break, and a mammoth second-set tie-break would go the way of the Kazakhstanis after a 20-point battle.
Once again, there was not a single break of serve to be had in the third set, but an ace and a double fault saw Skupski and Salisbury storm into a 4-1 tie-break lead before sealing a 7-6 6-7 7-6 success.
GB therefore end Group D in third place behind quarter-finalists USA and the Netherlands, and the last eight of the tournament will begin in Malaga on November 22.