21 February 2012
Great Britain beat Slovakia 3-2 in their Davis Cup tie, with Dan Evans holding his nerve to win the deciding rubber.
Those studying in play betting note how Evans (21) beat Martin Klizan, a player ranked 156 places higher than him in the world, 6-1, 6-1, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3.
Before hand, James Ward was beaten 6-7 (9-11), 1-6, 3-6 by Lukas Lacko, leaving the tie level at 2-2 in the Europe/Africa Group I.
The win for Evans means it is five triumphs on the bounce for coach Leon Smith in the Davis Cup, and means Great Britain will now face Belgium in Glasgow later this year in the second round.
Smith said: “While Dan is the hero of this tie, it is about the group. I am so proud of the boys and back room staff.”
Despite this set of players serving the team so well, Smith insisted that should world number four, Andy Murray be available for selection in the next round, he would be an automatic choice for the team.
He added: “We would welcome him back at any time, but we want selection issues for the other places.”
Before this weekend Evans had not won a Davis Cup runner, but will certainly have done his chances of playing in the Belgium tie no harm.
The world number 276 broke Klizan in the opening game before racing into a 5-0 first set lead. He then broke twice in the second set to take charge of the match.
But Evans soon gave Klizan a foothold in the game with a double fault in the ninth game of the third set to give the Slovakian the advantage.
In the fourth set Klizan broke again to level the scores at 2-2, and it appeared his extra experience and momentum would be enough to carry him to victory.
Coach Smith stopped Evans ahead of the fifth set to give him something of a pep talk which seemed to do the trick.
The Birmingham based youngster then broke in the third game and held serve before a double fault from Klizan at match point handed him the victory.
After the match, Smith said: “Leon has to take quite a bit of credit, he kept me calm in the chair. I didn't really snap once throughout the whole weekend, which probably would have been odds-on to happen at the start.
“I was enjoying it because it was a good match. Both players were playing good tennis and there is nothing better when everybody in the building, bar a few, is behind you.”
Smith admitted that he was really pleased with the atmosphere and how the week had gone overall, and was already looking forward to the next round.
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