(Reuters) - Andy Murray tipped 16-year-old Croatian Borna Coric for a bright future after beating him 6-3 6-0 6-3 to give Britain a winning start in their Davis Cup World Group playoff tie on Friday.
Coric, who emulated world No. 3 Murray recently by winning the U.S. Open junior title, made the Wimbledon champion sweat in the first and third sets, showing some classy touches to keep his vastly more experienced opponent on his toes.
To the delight of the home fans in Umag, London-based Coric went 3-1 ahead in the third set, breaking the Briton's serve with an audacious flicked winner after chasing down a drop shot, before Murray stepped up a gear clinch victory.
"The first five or six games were tough," said Murray, who is playing Davis Cup for the first time in two years as Britain try to return to the World Group.
"He was solid, he fought for every point. When he gets physically stronger, he's going to be a very tough player. The future is obviously very bright for him."
Ivan Dodig, Croatia's number one in the absence of Marin Cilic, leveled the tie with a straight-sets victory over Dan Evans, meaning Saturday's doubles could be crucial.
(Writing by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)