Britain on brink of Davis Cup win

 

Britain moved within one win of an improbable Davis Cup victory over Slovakia as Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins put the hosts into a 2-1 lead after the second day of their Europe Africa Zone Group One tie at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow yesterday.

A 6-3 7-6 0-6 6-3 triumph for Fleming and Hutchins over Filip Polasek and Michal Mertinak means Britain will entertain Belgium in the second round in April unless both James Ward and Dan Evans lose their reverse singles matches today. Ward is first up against Lukas Lacko before Evans takes on Martin Klizan.

Although Lacko was beaten in straight sets by Evans on Friday, it is hard to believe the visiting team's best player will perform as poorly again. The world No 68 is ranked 93 places higher than Ward – who lost in four sets to Klizan – and has been in the best form of his life in recent weeks, having reached the third round of the Australian Open and his first tour final in Zagreb.

If Ward loses, Evans will play a deciding fifth rubber for the third time in his short career. The 21-year-old from Birmingham lost on both previous occasions, at home to Poland in 2009 and in Lithuania the following year, but his confidence should be high following the best win of his life over Lacko.

While Slovakia went into the tie with a clear edge in terms of singles rankings, Britain had a marginal advantage in the doubles. Fleming and Hutchins have enjoyed considerable success since joining forces more than a year ago, reaching the quarter-finals at both Wimbledon and the US Open.

The first two sets were tight. Two double faults by Polasek helped the Britons to make the crucial break midway through the first set before the second went to a tie-break, which the home pair won 7-4. Polasek, the highest ranked doubles player on court, had been struggling, but the world No 21 came to life in the third set, which lasted just 24 minutes.

The Britons then broke Polasek in the fourth to take a 4-2 lead and served out for victory, which Hutchins secured with an ace. "I think home advantage made all the difference," Fleming said afterwards. "It came down to a few tight, nervous moments and the crowd managed to get us through them."

Anne Keothavong will face British compatriot Heather Watson for the first time tomorrow as they compete for a place in the main draw of the lucrative Qatar Total Open.

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power