Andy Murray returned to action with a comfortable win over Taro Daniel to give holders Britain an early lead against Japan in the Davis Cup.

Murray, playing for the first time since becoming a father last month, beat the world number 87 6-1 6-3 6-1.

Victory in the best-of-five tie in Birmingham will secure a quarter-final place and World Group status in 2017.

British number three Dan Evans plays world number six Kei Nishikori in Friday’s second singles match.

The home side are defending the title they regained for the first time in 79 years with victory against Belgium last November.

Murray back to winnings ways

“It was amazing,” Murray said of the reception he received after needing only one hour 30 minutes to see off Daniel.

There were signs of rustiness – four double faults and 25 unforced errors slowing his progress at times – but the Scot broke serve six times and saved both break points he faced in a one-sided win.

Murray, 28, won the opening 11 points in his first match since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final 33 days ago.

He wrapped up the first set in 28 minutes and took hold of a more competitive second after a double fault at 3-3 from Daniel, the US-born 23-year-old with just five ATP wins to his name.

Two blistering returns gave Murray the decisive break at the start of the third and he wrapped up the 28th Davis Cup singles win of his career in style.

“The last few weeks have been the best of my life, really special,” Murray said of becoming a father to Sophia.

“It has been tough the last few days being away from her for the first time but it had to happen to some stage, and it is a pleasure to represent my country and be with team-mates that we won with last year.

“The second set was tough – a lot of close games and some tough points, which was good for me.

“I was getting a little out of breath but I played a good match, served well, missed a few second serves but the first serve went extremely well, so it was a nice start.”

Order of play:

Friday

Andy Murray beats Taro Daniel 6-1 6-3 6-1

Dan Evans v Kei Nishikori

Saturday doubles

Dominic Inglot & Jamie Murray v Yoshihito Nishioka & Yasutaka Uchiyama

Sunday

Andy Murray v Kei Nishikori

Dan Evans v Taro Daniel

 

Source: BBC