Andy Murray
Murray came back from the brink to confirm Britain's place in the last four of the Davis Cup. Getty Images

Great Britain will face Australia in their first Davis Cup World Group semi-final tie since 1981 after Andy Murray fought back to put the finishing touches on a fine 3-1 victory over France with a four-set win against Gilles Simon in the third singles rubber at Queen's Club.

The hosts, who were whitewashed by Argentina on their last appearance in the final four, had not beaten France in this competition for 37 years, yet any fear that they would falter in the face of Arnaud Clement's formidably strong lineup were dispelled as Murray took the court for a third consecutive day and triumphed 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 6-0 in three hours and 27 minutes.

"It feels unbelievable to get through," he told the BBC. "I used up my last ounces of energy. I'll have a little holiday now, get a few days away and I'm looking forward to that.

"I just tried to change tactics, I was making too many mistakes. I didn't care how I played, I just wanted to win the match today and that's what I did.

"The whole weekend been fantastic, this team has done amazing things. We are punching above our weight and now in the semi-finals of the biggest team competition in tennis."

Both players held their serve to commence the opening set, yet the 2013 Wimbledon champion allowed Simon the opportunity to claim two break points after volleying into the net and a crisp forehand from the latter gave France a perfect start.

Murray needed a strong serve to see off another spirited challenge at 40-30 in game number five, before his opponent then dispatched a sweet crosscourt backhand to produce a confident hold to love.

We have already seen several heavy falls on the pristine grass court in West London since the match began on Friday (17 July), and Simon was the latest to crash to the turf when serving at 4-3. He called for the trainer and then requested a medical timeout in order to survey the damage to his right knee.

Thankfully, the world number 11 was able to continue and claimed the point needed to win the game when Murray blinked first in a charged rally by crashing a forehand into the net.

Murray then held to keep himself in the set, but could not take his first available break point when the net claimed his backhand return and he then failed to take a second much to his own annoyance.

Simon fired wide of the left sideline on set point as momentum shifted back and forth but he finally snatched the lead when a long rally culminated in Murray sending a backhand wide and the British number one's next return went long.

Questions regarding Murray perhaps suffering from burning after playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on day one and then being drafted in alongside brother Jamie for the pivotal doubles rubber yesterday looked legitimate at this stage.

They became increasingly valid minutes later as Simon took two break points in the first game of the second set, Murray slicing a backhand wide and looking as if he was powerless to prevent Britain's hopes resting squarely on the shoulders of James Ward, who was scheduled to meet Tsonga in the fourth and final singles match.

He continued to look out-of-sorts at 40-0 down in Simon's next service game, but rallied to take him to deuce. A long forehand handed the initiative back to France, however, and Murray threw his racket to the ground in obvious disgust after he slumped to 0-2 having failed to return a powerful serve.

The turning point of the match occurred in the eighth game of the third, when Murray forced an opportunity to break with a delightful forehand winner before Simon hit the net with a botched backhand that re-energised the crowd.

For the third match in succession, Murray was heading for a second set tiebreak. He had won both previous attempts and did so again despite Simon racing to a 4-1 lead as a result of several unforced errors.

Positive net play helped him to get back on level terms and although Simon then went 5-4 in front, Murray forced two mistakes and leveled the match at one set apiece with a strong serve.

Just as Simon had broken Murray straightaway in the previous set, he was given a taste of his own medicine to begin the third after driving a backhand wide left to accelerate Britain's comeback.

Now playing with real confidence, he forced another break point at the next opportunity. Simon saved at the net to take to it deuce, but Murray was not to be denied as a rogue forehand from the Frenchman proved costly.

Simon was not finished yet however, and broke back when a Murray volley was called out. The set then remained on serve until game number nine, when the 2012 US Open champion and Davis Cup stalwart hit a forehand winner crosscourt and followed it up with a quite sensational lob that had Queen's rocking.

Unable to stem the momentum engineered by Murray, Simon's resolve significantly diminished in the fourth and he was broken in the second game before calling for a second timeout after hurting his ankle during yet another slip.

Murray was certainly not in a forgiving mood and displayed his ruthless streak to take the set to love and set up a home clash with another old rival in Australia who produced a superb fightback of their own in Darwin earlier today as singles victories for veteran Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth helped turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 victory against Kazakhstan.