Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic won in straight sets to level his country's Davis Cup quarter-final with Great Britain after beating James Ward in straight sets.
The match was held over from yesterday due to persistent rain showers in Belgrade, where Britain’s Kyle Edmund had given the visitors a 1-0 lead on day one.
Edmund beat Serbian veteran Janko Tipsarevic 6-3 6-4 6-0, meaning the pressure was on world number 81 Lajovic, who needed a win to prevent his nation going 2-0 down in the best of five format.
Must win match for Lajovic
However in the absence of compatriots Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki the Serbian number three rose to the occasion, beating an out-of-sorts Ward 6-1 6-3 6-2.
Ward, the British number five, has recorded his best results in Davis Cup but has suffered a series of injuries in the past 12 months.
The 29-year-old is short of match practice, especially on clay, and was due to play a challenger event on grass before he received the call to play for his country this weekend.
Ward lacking in confidence
Since his memorable victories over Sam Querrey and John Isner in this event, he has slipped down the rankings to 240 in the world and that showed as Lajovic recorded a comfortable victory.
The Serb broke serve in the opening game before storming through the first set and Ward’s lack of confidence was quickly exposed.
Lajovic, an established clay court player who reached the fourth round of the French Open back in 2014, dictated the majority of the points and moved freely on his favoured surface. In contrast Ward appeared cumbersome and uncertain about his movement on the crushed red brick.
Ward surrendered his serve again at the start of the second and despite a brief rallying cry he was quickly dispatched in little over an hour.
With the tie now locked at 1-1 Britain will still go into this afternoon’s doubles as the favourites, with Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot going up against Nenad Zimonjic and Filip Krajinovic.
The pivotal match could then come tomorrow when Edmund takes Lajovic in the reverse singles. If the match is then tied at 2-2, Ward will be required again to take on Tipsarevic in the deciding rubber.