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Del Potro, Pella put Argentina on the verge of Davis Cup final

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Glasgow, Sep 17 (IANS) Juan Martin del Potro and Guido Pella put Argentina on the verge of Davis Cup final berth with singles victories over Britain's Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund, respectively.

The visiting Argentine squad was given a huge boost with Del Potro's return to singles, as he defeated second-ranked Murray in the dramatic and pivotal opening match of the tie, being played at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, on Friday, reports Efe.

Del Potro withstood 35 aces and 61 winners off the racquet of Murray and won the marathon match by virtue of his greater consistency from the baseline, committing 28 unforced errors to the Scotsman's 48.

Murray smashed 11 aces in the fifth and final set but his 10 unforced errors proved costly against the rock-solid Argentine, who clinched a 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-4 victory in just over five hours, the longest match of either player's career, according to the Davis Cup's Twitter feed.

After the star power of the first match, a clash of two Grand Slam champions, the second contest pitted the unheralded 49th-ranked Pella against the inexperienced 21-year-old Edmund, the world No. 55.

The Brit got off to a strong start in a tightly contested first set but his 50 unforced errors proved his undoing against the solid Argentine, who committed just 20 en route to a 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory.

Pella has been a crucial member of the Argentine team in this year's Davis Cup campaign, winning a key singles match in a road victory over Poland in the first round and teaming with Del Potro to snag the all-important doubles point in an away triumph against Italy in the quarterfinals in July.

Argentina has been in the Davis Cup final on four occasions - in 1981, 2006, 2008 and 2011 - but has never lifted the trophy.

Murray and his older brother Jamie Murray, winner of the 2016 Australian Open and U.S. Open men's doubles titles (with Brazil's Bruno Soares), had been scheduled to play Saturday's doubles against Federico Delbonis and Leonardo Mayer.

--IANS

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