Andy Murray combined superbly with brother Jamie in the doubles to give Great Britain a 2-1 lead over Japan, but there was a shock defeat for Novak Djokovic and Serbia against Kazakhstan.
The Murray brothers maintained their superb record in the competition by beating Japanese pair Yoshihito Nishioka and Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in Birmingham on Saturday.
The siblings did not face a single break point throughout the contest, which lasted just under two hours.
Andy will now head out first on Sunday against Kei Nishikori, and if he wins that match, the tie will go to Great Britain.
It’s nice to win the match quite quickly,” said Murray. “If tomorrow’s match is to go long as well, it’s good to have all the energy that I will need for tomorrow’s match. I can go out and just play, no niggles, I won’t be sore.”
Meanwhile in Belgrade, Serbia have a lot of work to do after world number one Novak Djokovic and partner Nenad Zimonjic were stunned by Kazakh pair Aleksandr Nedovyesov and Andrey Golubev in front of their home crowd.
The visiting duo completed a convincing 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5 victory to hand Kazakhstan a 2-1 lead heading into Sunday’s singles.
In order to advance, Serbia will now have to rely not only on Djokovic beating Mikhail Kukushkin, but Viktor Troicki getting past Nedovyesov.
“They showed real quality today and deservedly won,” said Djokovic after his doubles defeat. “They were constant throughout the match and had no lapses in concentration. The second and third sets were tight and we tried as hard as we could, but we lost to a better team.
“It is hardly surprising, given that they beat Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka last term. It’s not the first time we’ve been 2-1 down after the doubles and we know what we have to do if we are to force the final twist.”
In other results, Italy wrapped up a 3-0 win over Switzerland, who were without the services of star duo Federer and Wawrinka, while Argentina lead Poland 2-1 and Croatia are one point ahead of Belgium.
The Czech Republic are leading 2-1 against Germany, after Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek beat Phillip Kohlschreiber and Philipp Petzschner 7-6 (9-7), 7-5, 6-4.