GB stun Russia to reach play-offs
Originally published on: 07/04/13 00:00
Colin Fleming and Jonny Marray kept the tie alive with victory in the doubles after James Ward and Daniel Evans both lost five-set matches on Friday.
In the absence of world No.2 Andy Murray, Ward dug deep to defeat Dmitry Tursunov 6-4 5-7 5-7 6-4 6-4 before Evans, a late substitute in the team for Jamie Baker, claimed a shock 6-4 6-4 6-1 win over Evgeny Donskoy to clinch a thrilling 3-2 victory.
The result sees Great Britain qualify for the World Group play-offs in September, a huge leap since Smith took over in 2010 when Britain narrowly avoided being relegated to Europe/Africa Zone III.
"I think it's outstanding and it's one of the best things I've seen in my time in British tennis,” Smith said. "What James did was a phenomenal effort. To beat Tursunov in five after what he did on Friday, that's a hell of an effort to come back from that.
"I think he deserves a lot of praise. We wouldn't have had that last match if James hadn't dug out an incredible victory where he went through the pain barrier mentally, physically and emotionally. And then of course what Dan's come out and done. He bossed that match from start to finish."
GB could face five-time champions Spain or Roger Federer's Switzerland in the World Group play-offs for a chance to return to the elite tier of world tennis. The draw takes place on April 10.