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Edmund and Evans seal GB semi spot

Big hit: Dan Evans en route to his decisive win
Big hit: Dan Evans en route to his decisive win

By Eleanor Crooks

A delighted Dan Evans ended his losing run at the Davis Cup finals in Madrid with victory over Jan-Lennard Struff to send Great Britain through to the semis for the third time in five years.

Evans (29) had lost his first two singles matches against Dutchman Robin Haase and Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan from a set up but refused to accept the same fate against World No.35 Struff.

With Andy Murray, who was again left out, cheering on from the sidelines, Evans withstood pressure in the third set to come through a deciding tie-break and win 7-6 (6) 4-6 7-6 (2).

Coupled with another impressive win by Kyle Edmund, who defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 7-5, Evans' victory was enough to seal the tie for Britain without the need for a deciding doubles rubber.

Evans' place had been in question but captain Leon Smith stuck with him ahead of Murray and was rewarded with a display of real skill and heart.

He dominated the deciding tie-break and, when Struff's final shot flew wide, Evans leapt high and threw his racket into the air before running to celebrate with Smith and the rest of the team.

The 2015 champions will face either host nation Spain or Argentina this evening.

This victory, though, means they are guaranteed to be back in Madrid next year, with semi-finalists exempt from March's play-off round.

The only disappointment was the size of the crowd, which appeared noticeably smaller than for Britain's two group matches.

The British fans who had stayed made a good noise, though, and both Edmund and Evans responded in style.

At 36, Kohlschreiber's best days may be behind him but he remains a dangerous customer.

The German was a little wild in the first set against Edmund and the Yorkshireman took advantage, securing the only break of serve in the sixth game.

The second was much tighter. Kohlschreiber became the first player this week to break the Edmund serve for 3-1 but a fine game from the 24-year-old reduced the arrears straight away.

Another break for 6-5 set up a chance to serve for the match, which he took to love.

Serbia's hopes of winning the Davis Cup for the retiring Janko Tipsarevic ended in tears and heartbreak after a quarter-final defeat by Russia in Madrid.

Part of Serbia's Davis Cup-winning team of 2010, 35-year-old Tipsarevic chose this week's event as his career swansong.

He had to watch from the sidelines as Novak Djokovic was subbed in alongside Viktor Troicki for the deciding doubles after Djokovic had levelled the tie at 1-1 with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Karen Khachanov.

A dramatic contest against Khachanov and Andrey Rublev that saw Djokovic need treatment to his troublesome elbow and the Serbian pair argue with the umpire came down to a deciding tie-break.

Serbia had three match points but could not take any, with Troicki scooping a horrible volley long on the third one, and Russia made them pay to reach the last-four for the first time since 2008 with a 6-4 4-6 7-6 (8) win.

A distraught Troicki, who won the deciding rubber in the 2010 final, blamed himself, saying: "I probably feel the worst ever.

"I have never experienced such a moment in my career, in my life. And I let my team down, and I apologise to them."

Belfast Telegraph


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