By Ros Satar
Dan Evans [GBR] def. Evgeny Donskoy [RUS] 6-4, 6-4, 6-1
(April 7, 2013) COVENTRY, England – After three epic five-setters, it felt almost like short-change when Dan Evans clinched the Group I second round tie 3-2 against Russia in straight sets.
Having finished the first day 0-2 down, and only being ranked as favorites to win the doubles, it was all to play for with two live rubbers on the Sunday.
It was key for Evans to capitalize on Ward’s earlier three-and-a-half hour win over Dmitry Tursunov, which he did so with a single break to take the first set 6-4.
Evans started in much the same way, breaking again to lead Russia 3-1, but lost the advantage when Donskoy broke to level at 3-3.
Donskoy was moving better, and dialing back into the match, but another consolidated break for Evans put Great Britain two sets up.
Evans was inspired as he broke the Russian twice in the first three games, and again to build up a 4-0 lead in the third set.
Donskoy got a game back on the board, and saved one match point in the final game, but pushed a forehand wide to complete a remarkable day for the British team.
There may have been some who questioned Leon Smith’s decision to replace Jamie Baker at such a late stage with Dan Evans, but it most certainly paid off.
And on Friday, where Evans admitted he know he did not do enough hard work or practice to move on, it was a more positive sounding young man in press.
His aim is to continue to work on his ranking to earn a place as the British No. 2 to Andy Murray.
He said: “I am so grateful for the opportunity to play.”
Leon Smith now has competition for places, regardless of whether Andy Murray is playing.
There was vindication for the difficult decision to replace Jamie Baker with Evans, based on the courts and also the results of the players before hand.
He said: “There wasn’t an obvious choice to start with. At the end of the day it was the right choice.”
Great Britain will now go on to play in the World Group play-offs in September.
Ros Satar is a British Journalist- an IT journalist by day, and a sports journalist in all the gaps in between. She is the co-founder of Britwatch Sports (britwatchsports.com). Follow her on twitter at @rfsatar.
Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Zone Group 1 second round result:
Great Britain defeated Russia 3-2
Rubber 1 – D. Tursunov (RUS) d. D. Evans (GBR) 64 67(5) 64 57 64
Rubber 2 – E. Donskoy (RUS) d. J. Ward (GBR) 46 46 75 64 86
Rubber 3 – C.Fleming/J.Marray (GBR) d. V.Baluda/I.Kunitsyn (RUS) 61 64 62
Rubber 4 – J. Ward (GBR) d. D. Tursunov (RUS) 64 57 57 64 64
Rubber 5 – D. Evans (GBR) d. E. Donskoy (RUS) 64 64 61