Edmund puts GB on top in Davis Cup semi-final
Kyle Edmund continued his brilliant form in Madrid to give Great Britain a 1-0 lead in their Davis Cup semi-final against Spain at the Caja Magica.
This time it was no surprise to see Andy Murray left on the bench after the performances of Edmund and Dan Evans in steering Britain to victory over Germany on Friday.
Edmund had expected to face Pablo Carreno Busta only for Spain to make a very late switch when he was ruled out with a thigh injury, Feliciano Lopez coming in instead.
The timing certainly raised eyebrows given rumours were circulating about the fitness of Carreno Busta on Friday evening but Edmund, unfazed, powered to a 6-3 7-6 (3) victory to put Leon Smith’s side within one rubber of a final against Canada.
Appeals by Murray and the British team and a through-the-night effort from the Lawn Tennis Association brought an extra 800 fans to Madrid for the clash.
The LTA invested more than £60,000 of the considerable prize money it will receive in purchasing tickets and then offering them free to any British supporters who could get to the Spanish capital.
The visiting fans were, of course, still heavily outnumbered in the 12,500-seat stadium – a big contrast from the small arenas in which Britain had played their first three matches.
If Spain had hoped the late change might disrupt the exceptional rhythm Edmund has been in all week, they were quickly disabused of that notion.
The Yorkshireman began the match with three aces and won eight of the first nine points to claim an immediate break of serve.
It was no surprise the 38-year-old, who won the Queen’s Club title in June but plays more doubles these days, started a little nervously given he had not contested a Davis Cup singles match since 2016.
He freed himself up as the first set went on, with his big serve keeping Edmund at arm’s length, but did not force a break point.
The British number three was again in remarkable form for a player who has struggled all season, serving strongly and powering away winners.
Edmund is known for his destructive forehand but his backhand has been the revelation of this tournament and he used it very well again here.
The Lopez serve and the hostile atmosphere were ramping up the pressure on Edmund, though, and a forehand powered just wide gave the Spaniard two set points at 4-5 in the second set.
Edmund kept his nerve superbly, though, sending down big serves to save them both, and was much the better player in the tie-break.
It was an essential victory for Britain with Rafael Nadal taking a 26-match unbeaten run in singles into his clash with Evans.