Murray opens Britain's Davis Cup defence with easy win

The world number two put the titleholders 1-0 up in the World Group first round tie with a comfortable 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 defeat of the 157th-ranked opponent.

Andy Murray celebrates victory against Japan's Taro Daniel.   -  Reuters

Andy Murray got Great Britain's Davis Cup defence off to the best possible start with a straight sets win over Japan's Taro Daniel in Birmingham on Friday.

The world number two put the titleholders 1-0 up in the World Group first round tie with a comfortable 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 defeat of the 157th-ranked opponent.

The second singles match on Friday will be between Japan's world number six Kei Nishikori and Dan Evans, who was only selected to play after Kyle Edmund failed to overcome a back injury.

This was the Scot's first match since losing to Novak Djokovic in last month's Australian Open final, opting instead to spend time with new daughter Sophia, born on February 7, and wife Kim Sears.

"The last few weeks have been the best of my life, it's been really, really special," he told the BBC.

"It's been tough the last few days being away from her (new daughter Sophia) for the first time. It had to happen at some time. It's a pleasure to come and represent my country though."

Murray inspired Britain to their first Davis triumph in 79 years with victory over Belgium in Ghent in November.

If Britain beat Japan they will face either Kazakhstan or world number one Novak Djokovic's Serbia in the next round.

Results:

Great Britain 1 Japan 0 Andy Murray bt Taro Daniel 6-1, 6-3, 6-1. Serbia 1 Kazakhstan 0 Novak Djokovic bt Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-1, 6-2, 6-3. Belgium 0 Croatia 1 Marin Cilic bt Kimmer Coppejans 7-5, 6-3, 7-5. Poland 0 Argentina 1 Guido Pella bt Michal Przysiezny 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5). France 1 Canada 0 Gael Monfils bt Frank Dancevic 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.