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Kyle is GB weather beater

By Eleanor Crooks

Kyle Edmund defied awful weather conditions in Belgrade to beat Janko Tipsarevic and give Great Britain the lead in their Davis Cup quarter-final against Serbia.

The 21-year-old Yorkshireman took on the role of British number one for the tie and handled the situation superbly to win 6-3 6-4 6-0 and post his first victory in the competition.

Much of the match at the amphitheatre-like Tasmajdan Stadium took place in the rain and there were two lengthy breaks.

Tipsarevic, a former top-10 player who has missed most of the last two-and-a-half years through injury, was clearly exasperated by the situation, and Edmund exploited that to the full.

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, in Belgrade to support his team-mates after deciding the schedule was too tight for him to play, led the cheerleading from the sidelines.

The promised rain arrived just before the scheduled start of play at 4pm.

The initial delay was only a few minutes, but Edmund and Tipsarevic had managed just three nervy games on the slow clay court when it began to rain heavily.

After an hour off court the players returned, and Edmund used the extra power in his forehand to break serve straight away.

Tipsarevic spent the better part of two-and-a-half years off the tour before returning in April following two operations to remove a benign tumour in his left heel and then right knee surgery.

The 32-year-old, once ranked as high as eighth in the world, has only won seven matches since 2013 and his shots lacked conviction.

Edmund served out the set to love and then broke again to start the second set.

There were some signs of encouragement for Tipsarevic when he forced two break points in the next game, but Edmund held on.

The rain was falling heavily again and, although umpire Pascal Maria initially dismissed protestations from Tipsarevic, who wears glasses, they stopped after only three points of the third game.

It seemed unlikely that play would restart, but it did at 7.50pm local time.

The rain soon returned, but on they played and a disgruntled Tipsarevic won only five points in the third set.

Elsewhere, the Rio Olympics took another blow as Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic and Romanian medal hope Simona Halep both pulled out of the Games citing concerns over the Zika virus.

Canadian Raonic, ranked seventh in the world, reached his first grand slam final at the All England Club on Sunday, losing in straight sets to Andy Murray.

Halep is the first high-profile woman to pull out, although Victoria Azarenka will also miss the Games after announcing her pregnancy yesterday.

The world number five said on Facebook: "I regret to announce that I have decided I will not compete in the Olympic Games taking place this summer in Rio."

• Aaron Stubbs will be bidding to lift the Co Antrim championship men's singles title for the fourth time in a row today when he meets Karl Donaldson in a repeat of last year's final.

The Donaghadee ace defeated Newcastle's Gareth McGreevy 6-2, 6-4 yesterday while Donaldson (ATT) was a 6-1, 6-1 winner over Larne's Adam Boyle.

Ladies champion Christine Duncan (Ballynafeigh) made a semi-final exit when she was beaten 6-3, 6-3 by top seed Kerri Russell, who will be out to make it a double success for the Ballymena-based ATT club today.

Russell will meet Windsor's Annie McCullough who had a 6-2, 6-4 win over former Ulster Open champion Julie McManus in the other semi-final.

The Under 18 titles were won by Caleb Ralston, who beat Ronan McKeever 6-2, 6-3 and Mary Parkash, who defeated Ariana Kennedy 6-4, 6-0.

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