November 21, 2019
The power of Kyle Edmund did most to ensure another victorious day for the Brits at the Davis Cup.
Now GB are through to play Germany in the quarter-finals late on Friday afternoon.
For the second day in succession, Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski added the necessary finish by winning their decisive doubles contest.
This time Murray and Skupski defeated Alexander Bublik and Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1, 6-4 to seal the deal.
No one will have been happier than Andy Murray with the way the second day eventually unfolded for Great Britain in Madrid.
They say the Davis Cup is a team game. That means you need more than one hero to achieve your goals.
One man who often lives in Andy Murray’s shadow showed he could thrive in his absence. The magnificent Edmund.
And he certainly delivered in opening match when GB needed to summon all of his talent.
It then looked as though the tie against Kazakhstan would be done and dusted in two rubbers.
Dan Evans took the first set against Bublik, who smashed his racquet in fury as he was outplayed and outwitted.
The Birmingham boy had shown plenty of flare for his 7-5 opener. He was attempting to make amends for squandering his winning position against Robin Haase the previous day.
One more set would have seen Evans add admirably to Edmund’s work and send GB through – even before the doubles.
But Bublik hit back and took the second and third sets 6-4, 6-1 to upset the apple cart and stretch GB all the way.
Luckily Andy’s brother Jamie and his increasingly-impressive partner Skupski came to the rescue.
The most explosive performance from any single GB player had come earlier, however.
After a troubled year, Edmund showed all his best qualities against Mikhail Kukushkin.
The battling Yorkshireman was more than capable of stepping up to fulfil British hopes in their quest for a quarter-final spot.
Andy Murray had taken a breather after his gruelling three-set win on Wednesday.
He isn’t fully match-fit. But Murray could yet be brought back into the action at the business end of this innovative tournament.
Thanks to Edmund’s encouraging display, coach Leon Smith will have a number of options at his disposal.
Edmund stormed through the opening rubber on Thursday against Kazakhstan’s Kukushkin with a convincing 6-3, 6-3 win.
He came up with trademark booming forehands and punishing backhands to subdue his respected opponent.
Patient slices and bullet serves also maintained British dominance in the important opener.
There is something about the GB team spirit that tends to get them over the line when it matters.
Edmund pointed to the union flag on his shirt and took the applause of his teammates and the fans during his passionate celebration.
He wasn’t short of congratulations – and rightly so.
‘I couldn’t wait to get out here and it was such a buzz to thrive off the crowd,’ he said.
Although Dan Evans had another disappointing day, Jamie Murray and Skupski weren’t about to allow GB to slip out of the tournament early.
The British fans celebrated wildly and they will be even more passionate on Friday when it comes to the big knock-out clash against the Germans.
We can’t wait!