With no Andy Murray to help them, Great Britain swept into the semi-finals of the Davis Cup in Madrid last night, demolishing Germany 2-0.
It is Britain’s third appearance in the semis in five years but the last twice, they have relied on Murray and his brother to do all the heavy lifting. Yet for the second day running, Murray was rested by captain Leon Smith, and Kyle Edmund was called in to take his place.
The national No 2 grabbed his chance with both hands and, picking up where he had left off against Kazakhstan on Thursday, powered past Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-5.
It was then up to Dan Evans to secure the semi-final ticket as he faced Jan-Lennard Struff. But in his previous two ties against the Netherlands and Kazakhstan, Evans had been in a winning position only to lose in three sets. Yesterday, though, he dealt with the ferocious serving of Struff and clung on like a limpet to win 7-6, 3-6, 7-6.
“I lost some tough matches just lately,” Evans said. “I felt like I had let the team down the last two days. So to come back and get it like that, it’s amazing. They supported me through everything. I am so happy for them that we are through.
“I served great. I thought I played well the last two days but couldn’t get over the line. I didn’t feel great before the match, you are down, you are losing. Everyone in the team has kept me going, kept me positive.”
When the final point was over, Evans dropped his racket and ran at full pelt towards Smith and jumped into his arms. Both men had tears in their eyes. “I can’t believe it,” said Smith, whose team now face either Spain or Argentina.
“He had a tough couple of days. I am thrilled for him. He loves playing the Davis Cup. That reaction at the end I will savour for ever. We will enjoy the semi-finals now.”
It leaves captain Smith with a huge decision to make this morning: does he leave Murray on the bench again or does he risk the Scot, who is plainly unfit.
“We’ve got good solid players in the top 100 now that are competing on the tour with all these guys that are here,” Edmund said. “So, it’s not that new to us. Maybe this is probably the first time Leon has had some maybe real selection thoughts.”