Story highlights Holder Britain through in Davis Cup Murray clinches tie with five-set win Djokovic inspires Serbia to last eight

USA beats understrength Australia

(CNN)Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray had to survive marathon five-set encounters to lead their countries into a Davis Cup quarterfinal match up Sunday.

Follow @cnnsport
World number one Djokovic trailed Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin by two sets to one and looked headed for a rare defeat before leveling the tie for Serbia in Belgrade.

Kukushkin played one of the matches of his life against top-ranked Djokovic but could not sustain the pace in the deciding set.

Viktor Troicki clinched it with a comfortable 6-2 6-3 6-4 win over Kazakh number two Aleksandr Nedovyesov in the decisive fifth rubber. Earlier, Djokovic was kept on court for just short of five hours in completing a vital 6-7 7-6 4-6 6-3 6-2 victory.

Struggling with an eye infection before the tie, an exhausted Djokovic could barely keep on his feet while being interviewed on court and paying tribute to the home supporters.

Read More

“You made the difference and gave me the energy to come out on top and I have to thank you for that,” he said.

An anxious Jelena Djokovic was at courtside to see her husband secure a famous victory for Serbia.

Second-ranked Murray also battled extreme fatigue and a Kei Nishikori fightback to beat the Japanese star in five sets, 7-5 7-6 3-6 4-6 6-3, his clash also lasting a shade under five hours That clinched a 3-1 unassailable lead for the holder Great Britain, who will have to travel to Serbia for July’s last eight clash after Wimbledon.

Murray, who won his opening singles and paired with brother Jamie to take the doubles, established a hard-fought two sets to love lead before seeing it disappear as he tired and Nishikori found inspiration.

Andy Murray had to dig deep to see off Kei Nishikori of Japan to give holder Great Britain an unassailable 3-1 lead.

Murray has not played since losing to Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open and has also been performing fatherly duties after the birth of his first child Sophia. But in front of fervent home support in Birmingham he found a way to take the decider, breaking the record of the great Fred Perry with his 14th straight Davis Cup rubber win. At four hours and 54 minutes, it was the joint-longest match of his career with the 2012 U.S. Open final against Djokovic, which he also won.

He told the crowd he would be heading straight home to celebrate Mother’s Day with wife Kim and their four-week old daughter.

What a weekend – what a last match – incredible quality and spirit – so proud of our whole team. Winners! #DavisCup pic.twitter.com/JzBlf0W0I6
— Leon Smith (@LeonSmith) March 6, 2016

Earlier Sunday, the United States closed out victory over an understrength Australia team in Melbourne. Injury and illness had left the Australians so depleted that captain Lleyton Hewitt had to come out of recent retirement to play in the doubles with John Peers. That ended in a brave five-set defeat to the Bryan brothers, leaving the U.S. 2-1 ahead overnight.

Related  Missouri woman Rachel Staudte sentenced for poisoning dad and brother with anti-freeze | eTvFutures.com- Only Hot News

John Isner beat Bernard Tomic 6-4 6-4 5-7 7-6 to take the Americans into the quarterfinals, sending down a record speed serve for a Davis Cup match on his way to victory.

#AUSUSA @JohnIsner hit a 253kph (157.2mph) serve earlier breaking @ivokarlovic’s #DavisCup speed serve record! pic.twitter.com/DqtYgJMw05
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) March 6, 2016

In other last 16 ties, Switzerland, without Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, went down 5-0 to Italy in Pesaro, Argentina edged Poland 3-2 in Gdansk, while France thrashed Canada 5-0. Lukas Rosol beat Alexander Zverev 6-2 6-3 6-1 to give the Czech Republic a 3-2 victory over Germany in Hanover, with Croatia edging last year’s beaten finalist Belgium 3-2.

Read: Djokovic’s mission to save Serbian children

10 photos: Tennis star on mission to save kids
Novak Djokovic says sporting icons “absolutely” have responsibilities as role models …

Hide Caption
1 of 10

10 photos: Tennis star on mission to save kids
… and he’s backing up his words with action — with a lot of help from his wife, Jelena.

Hide Caption
2 of 10

10 photos: Tennis star on mission to save kids
The couple established a foundation to help educate children under the age of six, a critical time for a person’s learning process.

Hide Caption
3 of 10

10 photos: Tennis star on mission to save kids
Jelena, who has two business degrees, serves as director of the Novak Djokovic Foundation. The couple married in 2014.

Hide Caption
4 of 10

10 photos: Tennis star on mission to save kids
Jelena supports Novak both on and off court, championing the cause of children’s education.

Hide Caption
5 of 10

10 photos: Tennis star on mission to save kids
The couple agree that superstars in the world of sports have a higher calling off the playing field.

Hide Caption
6 of 10

10 photos: Tennis star on mission to save kids
The foundation has taken up children’s charitable causes in Serbia, donating to a school that was recently hit by flooding.

Hide Caption
7 of 10

10 photos: Tennis star on mission to save kids
Nearly half the children under six in Serbia are left without an education, hampering their learning ability later in life, says Jelena.

Hide Caption
8 of 10

10 photos: Tennis star on mission to save kids
She says deciding on investing in the education of children above other causes was a source of political tension.

Hide Caption
9 of 10

10 photos: Tennis star on mission to save kids
Novak, the 2016 Australian Open winner, has 11 grand slam titles under his belt — tied for the fifth-highest total of all time.

Hide Caption
10 of 10

Source: 6