Davis Cup captain Leon Smith hailed the achievements of Britain’s new tennis hero after Dan Evans triumphed in the fifth set of the deciding rubber to give his team a remarkable 3-2 victory over Slovakia at Glasgow’s Braehead Arena.
Without Andy Murray, who is training in Florida, the hosts were clear second favourites on their return to Europe/Africa Zone Group I but Evans, ranked 276th in the world, won both his singles rubbers to add to Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins’ doubles victory yesterday.
James Ward’s loss to world number 65 Lukas Lacko this afternoon meant the tie would be decided by Evans’ match against Klizan, which looked to be a formality when he raced through the first two sets for the loss of only two games.
But Klizan turned the match completely on its head by winning the third and fourth only for Evans to come through 6-1 6-1 4-6 3-6 6-3, handing Britain a first victory at this level of the competition without a top-100 singles player for 21 years.
They will return to Braehead in April for a tie against Belgium, where another victory would send them through to a World Group play-off in September.
Smith has now won all five ties since taking over the captaincy from John Lloyd two years ago.