Make or break doubles rubber for GB in Davis Cup

Disappointment for Britain's Kyle Edmund during the defeat against Canada's Vasek Pospisil  in the Davis Cup in Ottawa. Picture: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP

Disappointment for Britain's Kyle Edmund during the defeat against Canada's Vasek Pospisil in the Davis Cup in Ottawa. Picture: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP

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Great Britain face a potentially make-or-break doubles rubber in their Davis Cup clash with Canada after a dejected Kyle Edmund lost to Vasek Pospisil.

Dan Evans had given the visitors the lead in Ottawa with a very accomplished 6-3 6-3 6-4 victory over 17-year-old Denis Shapovalov.

But Edmund was unable to build on the momentum and went down 6-4 6-1 7-6 (7/3) to a player ranked 86 players lower as the opening day ended 1-1.

Afterwards, the 22-year-old struggled to hold back tears as he gave a scathing assessment of his own performance.

“It was just not good enough, pretty dismal from my standards,” said Edmund. “Everyone can accept winning and losing but it needs to be a lot better at this level.

“I’m just very disappointed for myself, for the team. It’s annoying when you have support like that and fans come out and spend money and travel and to put on a performance like that. You just really want to do well.”

Captain Leon Smith could face a big task to instil confidence back in Edmund should he be required to play a deciding fifth rubber on Sunday for the first time in his career.

That is a far from unlikely scenario, with the remaining rubbers all tough to call, particularly Saturday’s doubles.

Both teams can turn to specialists in the art, with Canada fielding 44-year-old Daniel Nestor in his 50th tie alongside Pospisil, while Britain have Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot.

Pospisil, who fought tears of his own in a post-match interview after a horrible 13 months, needed treatment for a knee problem early in the match but said he would be fit for Saturday.

Britain have an excellent record in Davis Cup doubles but Smith knows this is one of the tougher encounters they have had.

He said: “The most important thing is to dust it (Edmund’s defeat) off but focus now on the next matches. There’s a lot of tennis to be played.

“It will be a great atmosphere (on Saturday) obviously with Daniel’s 50th tie, it’s pretty amazing. It’s a really close match.

“Obviously Vasek looked like he had a little bit of an injury, it didn’t stop him too much but it will be interesting to see how he pulls up. But Jamie and Dom are a really good team. The court should really suit the way they serve.”

The lightning surface at the TD Place Arena certainly favoured Pospisil against Edmund but also suited Evans, thrust into the number one role for the first time in the absence of Andy Murray.

He could not have handled the situation or his opponent better, playing composed but high-quality tennis against a raw talent contesting his first best-of-five-sets match.

In the first month of the year Evans reached his first ATP Tour final, made the fourth round of the Australian Open and broke into the world’s top 50.

Confidence oozed out of him as he posted his first Davis Cup victory for more than three years and his first ever in a live rubber in the World Group.

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