Kyle Edmund produced one of the finest ever Davis Cup performances from a young British player to power his team into the semi-finals in the face of a hostile crowd.
The 21-year-old Yorkshireman defied the clay court skills of acting Serbian No 1 Dusan Lajovic to give GB a 3-1 victory with a 6-3 6-4 7-6 win of astonishing maturity.
Edmund was mobbed by team-mates and the watching Andy Murray after coming back from 4-2 down in the tiebreak to take it 7-5 and gain his second point of the quarter-final. He needed to come of age quickly in his second Davis Cup tie and he certainly did that.
Great Britain now play Argentina at home in the week after the US Open and it can be expected that their best player will be back for that one, having travelled out to support the team in these difficult conditions.
This was GB’s first win at World Group level since 1986 without Murray, but they are sure to start as favourites in September, assuming that their talisman has more than a spectating role.
Edmund replaced him seamlessly, striking his forehand with tremendous effect to beat Lajovic who, although ranked slightly lower at 81, had far more experience in this situation and was backed by vociferous home support, louder than the several hundred Brits in attendance.
The weather at the start was something like a sea-fret, with a film of rain falling to make conditions slow and unpleasant. A week previously Andy Murray had been winning Wimbledon – now he was sitting courtside getting wet while cheering on Edmund.
This fairly well suited Edmund, but would not be so good for James Ward in the event of a fifth rubber, making this point even more important. The match would hinge on how well Lajovic, an excellent mover, could neutralise Edmund’s weapons grade forehand, which he would have plenty of time to hit on the sluggish surface.
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GB got the first break point at 2-1 but only two games later did he manage to convert when he forced Lajovic to drive the ball into the net.
A key opening came at 2-2 in the second set when Edmund forced two break points. On the second one a long rally ensued, only for the home crowd to call a ball out during the exchange, offputting the visiting player and then seeing him put the ball in the net.
Leon Smith joined the player in protesting furiously to American umpire Jake Garner but he refused to replay the point. Edmund wobbled a little in the next game as the home crowd became aroused, but then he converted a second break point at 3-3 to go ahead, and could have wrapped up the second set 6-3, but was forced to serve it out.