By Ros Satar, in Glasgow
- Guido Pella def. Kyle Edmund 6-6(5) 6-4 6-3 6-2
- Earlier Juan Martin Del Potro defeated Andy Murray in five set
- Crucial Doubles on Saturday
GLASGOW, UK – Great Britain stumbled for the first time in their Davis Cup title defence, as they ended Day 1 of the semi-finals 0-2 down.
After the thriller of the first match, where British No. 1 Andy Murray was pipped in a five set thriller Olympic rematch against Juan Martin Del Potro, there were high expectations once more on Kyle Edmund.
Edmund had come into his own as the British No. 1 in the quarter-finals in Serbia, where he won both singles rubbers against Janko Tipsarevic and Dusan Lajovic, to send GB into the semi-finals.
He started brightly enough leaping out to a 3-0 lead before being swiftly pegged back, and despite starting the resulting first set tie-break slowly, he soon started to wind up the pace, proving what a weapon his forehand is becoming, and picking off the first set at a canter.
The second set was of very high quality with very little between them, just a break point each before Pella kicked up his own pace a notch, breaking Edmund to level the match.
It was a different story as the third set rolled around. Edmund secured a break only for Pella to reel off four games on the spin to win the third set and put the hosts very firmly on the back foot.
In fact the Argentinean would pick up a fifth game in a row to break Edmund right at the start of what would be a decisive fourth set, with Edmund really under the pump, having to save six break points just to get himself on the board, stopping the run of games against him at six.
It was not enough though to stem the errors, as Edmund was broken again to give Pella a 5-2 lead and a chance to serve to put Argentina within a win of making another Davis Cup final.
Great Britain will be the favourites in the doubles if both Murray brothers combine forces, but with Andy having played the longest match of his career, the Argentines must fancy their chances of wrapping things up on the Saturday.
There is no doubt that if Great Britain clinch the doubles, and with the younger Murray the favourite in his encounter against Pella it will be down to either Edmund or Dan Evans to beat Del Potro to keep their dreams alive.
It shows as a measure of how Edmund has grown, that he was able to try and put the match in perspective with the prospect
He said: “You have to reset – there’s no time to be disappointed especially in a team environment, that would be selfish to moan about stuff or get down. You have to be in that team spirit, and we have a very strong team spirit.”
There have not been many defeats since Leon Smith took over the team, but there was no denying, this day hurt.
“Yeah we’ve had a lot of good days but I guess at some point, especially where we are now in the World Group playing great teams like Argentina, some days are just going to be like that. We can’t win everything.
“Everyone obviously feels flat just now – that’s normal. It’s been a long day, both guys have fought as hard as they can, given their best and that’s all we ask before they go out.”
He paid credit to the Argentineans who both played extremely well especially in light of Del Potro’s resurgence. He will wait to talk with Andy to see if it realistic to put him out in the doubles.
Day 2 and the doubles tie is scheduled for 2pm BST.
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