Awesome Evans fires GB to Davis Cup semi-finals
Tennis

Awesome Evans fires GB to Davis Cup semi-finals

22 November 2019 / 22:18
Dan Evans went from zero to hero as he carried Great Britain through to the Davis Cup semi-finals with an incredibly resilient three-set victory against Jan-Lennard Struff.

Evans – who lost his two singles matches in the group stages – was taken to a decider after winning the first set, before emerging a 7-6 3-6 7-6 victor to set-up a semi-final with either Spain or Argentina.

Earlier in the day, Kyle Edmund put GB 1-0 up as he overpowered the veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber to win 6-3 7-5.

Evans said: "It's great. Listen, I lost matches lately. I felt I let the team down in the last two days. To get it like that was amazing. The team supported me through everything.

"I served great. I thought I played good the last two days, but couldn't get over the line. Before the match I didn't feel great. Everybody in team got me going."

Evans – ranked 42 – was superb in the first set against the big-serving Struff, forcing three break points in the third game with an ultra-aggressive gameplan.

It eventually went to a tie-break but Evans’ barrage of winners proved too much for Struff to handle and he moved a set up.

However, Struff is ranked seven places higher than Evans and was always unlikely to roll over. And so it proved as he upped his power and took advantage of the increasing number of errors in Evans’ game.

He took the second set 6-3, leaving a sense of déjà-vu as Evans contemplated losing a third straight match after winning the first set.

Struff confidently dictated much of the decider but Evans stayed in it, largely thanks to his serve, before he raised his game and blitzed his way through the final-set tie-break 7-2.

Captain Leon Smith said: "I actually can't believe it. He has had a tough couple of days. Last night we had to change things of how we approached the match.

"He felt down the past couple of days, but boy did he step up. He loves playing Davis Cup. That charge towards me at the end! We'll savour this one.

"We feel great. Coming into this I knew we had a really good squad. Everybody has now posted wins. We just have to go with it. We come back tomorrow and go again."

It was a more serene victory for Edmund, who served impressively throughout his victory. One break was all he needed to rumble through the first and, although Kohlschreiber did offer some resistance in the second set, he had too much firepower for the German.

“My level today was good. Sometimes when you play first match, you are running on adrenaline, pumped to get there,” he said.

“As days go by, the challenge is to keep that consistent. Today I really did that. I knew if I kept my energy high, my intensity, my game is in a good place.”

Sportsbeat 2019