Davis Cup 2012: Dan Evans leads Great Britain to win over Slovakia

Dan Evans secures a thrilling five-set win over Martin Klizan to hand Great Britain victory over Slovakia in Davis Cup tie

By Stuart Findlay at the Braehead Arena

Dan Evans was the hero again for Great Britain as he battled to a 6-1 6-1 4-6 3-6 6-3 win over Martin Klizan to secure a sensational Davis Cup victory over Slovakia at Glasgow’s Braehead Arena.

The tie was poised at 2-1 to the home team after winning yesterday’s doubles but James Ward fell 7-6 6-1 6-3 to Lukas Lacko to send it into a decisive fifth rubber.

World No65 Lacko looked a very different player to the one that lost to Evans on Friday as he put on a serving clinic to claim the win in straight sets.

The 24-year-old Slovakian didn’t face a break point during the match and closed out the win in just over two hours.

It ramped up the pressure on Evans, who secured his first Davis Cup win in five attempts on Friday, to beat an opponent ranked more than 150 places higher than him.

He said: “It was tough. He showed guts to come back from two sets to love down but we managed to get the result we wanted.

“Leon [Smith, Davis Cup captain] has to take credit, he kept me calm in the chair. I was enjoying it. It was a good match and there’s nothing better than having everyone in the building behind you.”

The match began well for Evans as he held comfortably and then broke Klizan to love with some very aggressive chip and charge play.

Evans’ net play dazzled the Glasgow crowd as he beat Lukas Lacko in straight sets on Friday but this time it was his all-round game that caught the eye as he began hitting winners from all over the court.

The 21-year-old Englishman had two set points for a 6-0 whitewash in the first but Klizan was able to hang in for one game longer before Evans served out to love.

The second set began in a similar fashion for Evans as he broke Klizan’s serve again, and then quickly built up a 4-0 lead with a series of stinging forehand winners.

Klizan began to find some form in the third and secured the crucial break when Evans doubled faulted in the ninth game. Evans had chances to break back but the Slovakian produced a couple of great passing shots to close out the set 6-4.

Evans was broken to love in the first game of the fourth and the momentum stayed with Klizan as he sent the match into a deciding set by taking it 6-3.

The Brit has lost two deciding rubbers in the Davis Cup before and there was anxiety around the Braehead Arena as a third time looked probable, but he was able to lift his game in the fifth and grabbed the decisive break in the third game.

Evans said: “It didn’t really come into my head, previous matches never usually do. Everyone’s been very positive towards me all weekend.”

Klizan had a glimpse of breaking back at 0-30 in the sixth game but a couple of big serves and a powerful volley kept Evans in front.

With Klizan serving to stay in the match, his concentration dipped considerably and he fell behind 15-40 after two wild backhands.

A nervous looking double fault sealed the match and the tie to the delight of the crowd and Evans’ team-mates jumped on to the court to lift their hero in the air.

Great Britain will now play Belgium back at Braehead Arena on 6-8 April, with the winner of the tie progressing to a World Group play-off in September.

British team captain Leon Smith said: “I’m so proud of Dan. It’s not easy to come out and be the one to try and get through the fifth match.

“He had so much adrenaline at the start of today and he just nailed all the tactics perfectly.”

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