Great Britain are through to the semi-finals in Madrid after Kyle Edmund and Daniel Evans posted singles wins to beat Germany 2-0
Great Britain are through to the semi-finals of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals after downing Germany with their first singles sweep of the week, Daniel Evans sealing a 2-0 victory with a 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-6(2) win over Jan-Lennard Struff after Kyle Edmund had dispatched Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-5.
Leon Smith’s side will face Spain or Argentina in Saturday’s second semi-final as they chase an 11th Davis Cup title and their first since 2015.
British No.1 Evans claimed his first win of the week in dramatic fashion, celebrating wildly with Smith and the GB bench after coming through in three sets, having been beaten from a set up against Robin Haase of the Netherlands and Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin in the group stages.
The world No.42 broke for a 5-4 lead in the opening set but after Struff broke back in the next game the hulking German was impenetrable on serve for the rest of the match, denying Evans a single break point for the rest of the match and seixing control of the contest with a five-game streak from 2-3 in the second set.
But after Evans survived two break points in game four of the third, both players held firm to force a decisive tiebreak, dominated by the Briton who couldn’t hide his relief.
“I felt like the team down the last two days - to come back like that is amazing for them"
“I felt like the team down the last two days,” Evans said. “To come back and get it like that is amazing for them. They all supported me through everything over the last few days and I’m so happy we’re through.
“I thought I was playing good the last two days, but I couldn’t get over the line. It was tough before the match. I didn’t feel great – you’re down and you’re losing – but everybody was keeping me going for the matches, keeping me positive.”
Confidence was no issue for British No.2 Edmund, who put the team in front with his second impressive straight-sets win of the event. The quick court and high altitude in Madrid are well suited to his powerful game, and only a passive passage in the second set offered Kohlschreiber any joy in the match as the pair traded breaks.
Reasserting himself, Edmund powered to an immediate break back and refused to take a backward step from that point, breaking for a 6-5 lead and ending the match as he began, with a service hold to love.
“I thought my level today was good,” said Edmund, who had feared a dip after his opening win over Kukushkin. “Sometimes when you play first, you’re running on adrenaline, pumped to be out there, and as the days go by the challenge is to keep that consistent. I think I did that – my mentality, my consistency, and my game are in a good place.”
"My mentality, my consistency, and my game are in a good place"
An emotional Smith paid tribute to the mentality of both players in sending Great Britain through to the semi-finals, having set up a showdown with either Spain or Argentina without former world No.1 Andy Murray featuring in their last two matches.
“I actually can’t believe it,” he said. “Dan had a tough couple of days, but boy, did he step up today. I’m absolutely thrilled for him because he loves playing Davis Cup, and that reaction at the end I’ll savour forever.
“Coming into this I knew we had a really good squad, but with what’s happened to Andy the last couple of days, people might have started doubting us. But everybody’s come out strong, everyone has now posted wins, which I think is a great feeling to go into the semi-finals. We’ve just got to roll with it and see what happens, come back tomorrow and go again.”
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