Great Britain captain Leon Smith hailed the emerging talent of Kyle Edmund after the 21-year-old defeated Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic in Belgrade to propel the defending champions into the Davis Cup semi-finals.
Edmund followed victory in his opening singles match against Janko Tipsarevic on Friday by dispatching world No81 Lajovic in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), to give his side an unassailable 3-1 in the tie.
The win kept Britain on course to defend the Davis Cup crown they won against Belgium in Ghent in November, while they will now face Argentina at home, potentially in Glasgow, in September for a place in the final.
Their success was also the first World Group Davis Cup clash Britain have won without their No1 ranked player – Wimbledon champion Andy Murray was rested amid a congested schedule. For their part, Serbia were missing World No1 Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki. Smith, however, was keen to direct the full glare of the spotlight onto Edmund.
“I’ve seen Kyle develop so much over the years. He’s getting better and better and physically he is so much stronger this year,” said Smith, who has won 14 of his 16 Davis Cup matches.
“His forehand is an unbelievable shot and the way he can pull the trigger makes it such a great weapon. I am sure he will take a lot from going out and winning matches of this intensity, under such pressure.
“A lot of his game has improved so much. And the good thing for Kyle is there’s a whole heap of stuff that he’s going to get better at. That’s why I think he’s just going to keep kicking on and every year he’s just going to get better and better.
“It’s also great for the team. They work so hard and are a close unit. Hats off to Kyle. To get your first Davis Cup win is something, to get two in one weekend is something very special indeed.”
Edmund was making just his second Davis Cup appearance and was promoted to the No1 slot in place of the absent Murray. He did not disappoint and produced a stunning performance as he hit 27 forehand winners and 39 in total to shatter the resistance of Lajovic.
“It’s definitely a very proud moment,” said Edmund. “Friday [victory over Tipsarevic] was a really nice thing to do. I was really pleased with that.
“But it’s one thing winning and then losing the other one. To win twice feels good away from home, so I’m very proud. I’ve been at a lot of ties, on the bench, hitting. It’s nice to feel like I did it for the team.
“Growing up you watch tennis and you think of these moments, what it would be like to win for Great Britain and it’s nice to be able to do that.”
Following Edmund’s victory, Londoner James Ward lost the dead singles rubber against Tipsarevic 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 meaning the tie ended 3-2 in Great Britain’s favour.