By Ros Satar at the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid
- Kyle Edmund def. Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 7-5
- Dan Evans def. Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-6(2)
MADRID, SPAIN – Dan Evans came good just at the right time, with a a hard-fought win to send Great Britain into the semi-finals and guaranteeing them a spot in next year’s finals.
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Kyle Edmund def. Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 7-5
Perhaps in a surprise to many, Andy Murray was benched again, this time due to a thigh strain, and Kyle Edmund once more opened proceedings for Great Britain in the quarter-final with Germany. The quick court together with Edmund’s heavy serve and fierce forehand combo brought up two immediate break points for Edmund but they were saved by a resilient Philipp Kohlschreiber.
It was third time’s the charm a few games later as he broke for a lead that would eventually hand Great Britain the first set served out to love. It was Kohlschreiber who took the first step though in the second set, but Edmund kept his nerve to break straight back, striking again to break in the penultimate game before once more serving confidently out to love to put Great Britain on the board with a lead in the tie.
He said, after the match: “My tennis hasn’t really been a problem in the matches and in practice so I knew that was a strong point. But carrying on that sort of intensity, that frame of mind, taking my game to him was my biggest challenge. And I did that today.
“I had the challenge of getting broken and broke him straight back. So, I knew almost that was like a mental sort of win getting that break back and win the set from there.
“I knew I was going to be playing Kohlschreiber and I mentally get ready for that, look at the game styles. And, yeah, I knew, obviously, yesterday that I had a good match so I really wanted to continue that, and that was the case.”
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Dan Evans def. Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-6(2)
Having wryly noted that as the British No.1 player he was the weakest link so far, Dan Evans came out for the second rubber with a lot more aggression and verve than perhaps the more passive patient play we had seen over the last couple of days. Evans was the one hustling in the first set, bringing up three chances to break, before making another two chances count for the first break.
With just seven places between them in the rankings, Jan-Lennard Struff certainly had the tour experience to steady the ship with a straight break back to take the first set into a tie-break. That proved to be quite a nail-biter as Struff broke first before a flurry of mini-breaks. Evans got another before holding both his serves to pull up a set point, turning the tide and taking the first set.
The second set was no less competitive, with nothing to separate them until perhaps Evans’ level started to drop a little, as we had seen for the previous two matches, as Struff took advantage with two straight breaks at the end of the set to level things up.
Once more the deciding set had very little to split the players with Evans saving two break points, but the Brit came into his own in the tie-break, leaping out to a 3-0 lead and then running the last four points in a row to push GB into the semi-finals of the Davis Cup.
Evans said: “I was just saying the last two days for me after losing was pretty tough. With Andy not playing and Kyle doing a great job at No. 1, it made it way easier for me to be in such a tight situation, and they was all behind me on the bench.
“For everyone who’s helped us to all get on court, it was so good to just get the win for them, you know. It means just as much for the guys who aren’t on court as the guys on court to win. I just let go and it felt amazing to get through that match. So, you know, to get us into the semis.”
Will Andy Murray make an appearance again?
After his monumental effort in the first match against the Netherlands, Murray, who admitted he still was not in the best shape coming into the match, has been rested and team captain Leon Smith now has enough depth in the team to not have to rely on Murray.
He explained: “I just thought that where Kyle and obviously Evo are at is ahead of where Andy’s just now. That’s where it is in terms of how he’s feeling and whatnot. And when you’ve got two very, very good players like Kyle and Evo that are ready to go, then that’s what we do.
“He could play, but I wouldn’t say he’s in his best condition, as he said to you guys the other day. He says that’s how he’s feeling. So we have to keep talking about it.
“I can’t say much more than that. It’s where he’s at right now. We’ll have to just keep going each day and see what’s needed, or if it is needed, you know. We may go with the same.”
GB will play Spain in the Davis Cup semi-finals.
How to watch the Davis Cup Finals
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|Monday 18 November||3pm – 9pm|
|Tuesday 19-Saturday 23 November||10am – 11pm|
|Sunday 24 November||3pm – 9pm|
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