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Evans puts GB ahead in Davis Cup five-setter

Best shots as Evans beats Istomin in epic Davis Cup match
Great Britain v Uzbekistan – Davis Cup play-off
Venue: Emirates Arena, Glasgow Dates: 14-16 September Coverage: Live video on the Red Button and online; live text commentaries on the BBC Sport website

Dan Evans put Great Britain ahead in their Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan with victory over Denis Istomin in a gripping opening singles rubber.

Playing for Great Britain for the first time since returning from a 12-month drug ban, Evans beat world number 60 Istomin 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 0-6 6-4 7-5.

Cameron Norrie takes on Jurabek Karimov in Friday’s second singles rubber.

A doubles match follows on Saturday before Sunday’s reverse singles in the best-of-five-match tie in Glasgow.

“It’s been tough but everybody who supported me, who has been right behind me from the time I started back, I can only thank them,” an emotional Evans said after a match that lasted four hours and 14 minutes.

“Days like today don’t come around very often. Who knows, I may not get in the team next time, so I have to remember this and enjoy it.”

With a revamped Davis Cup being introduced next year, this tie is no longer about relegation from the elite World Group. Instead, if Great Britain win they will be seeded in the new competition in February.

Missed opportunities

Britain, playing without three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray and the country’s number one Kyle Edmund, got off to a perfect start through Evans against the highest-ranked player in the tie.

But the Englishman, who had been a set and a break up before Istomin fought back, made it harder work for himself by missing 18 of 23 break points.

He produced the breakthrough in the first set when he sent a forehand down the line to get the mini-break for 5-3 in the tie-break and wrapped up the set with a backhand volley at the net.

Evans went 2-0 up in the second set but was pegged back in the following game, and then failed to convert seven out of eight break points as Istomin took the set when the Briton went long.

With the first two sets having taken just over two hours, the Uzbek number one then raced through the third set in 21 minutes, before Evans stopped the rot by winning the opening game of the fourth set after losing nine games in a row.

The momentum continued to swing in the fifth, with each player breaking twice before Evans won the match with a forehand on his sixth match point on Istomin’s serve.

Evans, who failed a drug test after remnants of cocaine contaminated legal medication in his washbag, returned to tennis in April this year and has climbed back to 222nd in the world after winning a Challenger event in Vancouver last month.

BBC Sport

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