Murray's failure puts Britain on verge of ignominious exit

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The Independent Online

Switzerland, who took a 2-0 lead in the World Group qualifying round yesterday, will secure victory if they win one of the remaining three rubbers, starting with today's doubles.

Jeremy Bates's gamble on resting Greg Rusedski in preparation of his partnering the 18-year-old Andy Murray against Roger Federer and Yves Allegro backfired when Murray was defeated in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6, 6-4, by the Swiss No 2, Stanilsas Wawrinka, in the second of yesterday's singles.

As expected, Roger Federer, the world No 1, overwhelmed Alan Mackin, ranked No 262 in the world, 6-0, 6-0, 6-2. Mackin was selected to save the 32-year-old Rusedski's legs.

Murray, ranked No 110, was outplayed by the 60th-ranked Wawrinka, whose lashing backhand and willingness to be aggressive on the clay court proved decisive.

Having lost the opening set after fighting back from 5-1 down, Murray seemed poised to level the match in the second set tie-break, in which he led 3-0 and 5-3. Wawrinka won the next four points in a row to take the shoot-out, 7-5.

Wawrinka, broken in the opening game of the third set, broke back for 2-2 and made the decisive break of the match at 5-4.

Against Federer, there were times when Mackin was able to rally valiantly. There were other times when it seemed that if an apple had been placed on Mackin's head, Federer would have shot it off without disturbing a hair.

Mackin did create three break points but each time Federer was able to erase them. The Scot finally put a score on the board after 54 minutes, holding for 1-1 in the third set by cornering Federer into playing a defensive lob long. Mackin held a second time, for 2-2, Federer mis-hitting one forehand and netting another.

"I have never managed two 6-0 sets [back-to-back] before," said Federer. "I knew I was a big favourite of course but it wasn't so easy going into the match because I couldn't remember the last time I played someone ranked so low.

"It would have been a big disaster for me if I had lost," he added.

DAVIS CUP WORLD GROUP PLAY-OFFS, (Geneva, Switzerland); Switzerland v Great Britain: R Federer (Swit) bt Alan Mackin (GB) 6-0, 6-0, 6-2; S Wawrinka (Swit) bt A Murray (GB) 6-3, 7-6, 6-4.

Switzerland lead 2-0 in best of five match

Today (12pm) Federer and Yves Allegro v G Rusedski and Murray.

Tomorrow (11am) Federer v Murray and Warwinka v Rusedski.