Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dan Seals Cup Tie for Britain; Evans Clinches a Five-Set Thriller to Defeat Slovakia

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dan Seals Cup Tie for Britain; Evans Clinches a Five-Set Thriller to Defeat Slovakia

Article excerpt

DAN Evans produced one of the most extraordinary performances in Great Britain's recent Davis Cup history last night, to beat Martin Klizan and give Leon Smith's side a 3-2 victory over Slovakia at Renfrew's Braehead Arena.

The visitors were favourites going into the tie but Evans, ranked 276th in the world, got Britain off to a superb start by beating Lukas Lacko on Friday and looked set to seal the win in style when he raced through the first two sets yesterday.

But world number 120 Klizan turned things completely on their head in sets three and four before Evans somehow found a way back in the decider.

He clinched a 6-1 6-1 4-6 3-6 6-3 victory after two hours and 53 minutes before being held aloft by a delighted team.

Britain's hopes rested on the Birmingham player (right) after James Ward's straight-sets defeat by Lacko earlier in the day, which had left the Europe/Africa Zone Group I tie level at 2-2. The victory, Smith's fifth in a row since taking over the captaincy from John Lloyd two years ago, means Britain will play Belgium back at Braehead in April for a place in the World Group play-offs.

Evans had played two Davis Cup ties prior to this weekend, been involved in deciding rubbers both times and lost them, once to Poland in 2009 and then Lithuania two years ago.

Klizan had looked very solid in beating Ward in the second rubber, powering serves and groundstrokes, but Evans simply blew him off court for two sets.

The backhand slice and volley, which had bamboozled Lacko on Friday, were again major weapons, but so were the Evans serve and forehand, and Klizan looked something of a forlorn figure.

The British number five won the first five games and missed two chances to clinch a love set before wrapping it up on his own serve.

Evans continued to batter his frustrated opponent, reeling off another four games in a row and then clinching the set with a break to love. …

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