Has there ever been a better week for British tennis?
Seven days ago Andy Murray was celebrating his second Wimbledon title and now Great Britain have reached the semi-finals of the Davis Cup for the second year running.
For once this was not of Murray’s making, and while the steely Scot was present in Belgrade to support his team in their tricky tie against Serbia, he didn’t play a part on the court.
Instead the leading role was passed down to 21-year-old Kyle Edmund, a man who only made his competition debut in the final last year.
Perhaps that experience was decisive factor this weekend, as Edmund won two pivotal singles matches to give his country a memorable victory on foreign soil.
Edmund beat world number 81 Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-4 7-6(5) to give Britain an unassailable 3-1 lead in the tie following Dom Inglot and Jamie Murray’s doubles victory and Edmund’s triumph over Janko Tipsarevic on day one.
Just like Murray’s victory at SW19, this was a remarkably composed performance full of assurance and impeccable nerve. The only hiccup came when Edmund was serving for the match in the third set. Until then, the result never looked in doubt.
Even after losing that game and having set points against him, which would have halved his two sets to love advantage, Edmund dusted himself down before sealing the match in a third set tie break.
At that moment he sunk to his knees and embraced the situation. Overall, it’s a weekend which has shown that this nation is far from a one man team after all.
Britain will now face Argentina at home in the last four of the competition in September, when Murray should be available after sitting this one out.
He trusted that the team were good enough to win this tie without him and he was proven right.
Edmund's forehand dominates from the start
Edmund came charging out of the blocks in similar dizzily conditions to those when he beat Tipsarevic on Friday evening.
Lajović had looked impressive when dispatching James Ward in the second singles match which took place yesterday morning, yet the Serb was forced to save the first break point in the fourth game.
Clay hasn’t been the most successful surface for British players over the years, yet Edmund has excelled in his early years on the crushed red brick.
The heavy conditions allowed him to regularly dance around his backhand and strike devastating blows on his potent forehand wing.
The Brit’s serve was also immaculate and he didn’t face a break point in the entire first set, but perhaps the most impressive element of Edmund’s game was his mental resolve which rarely flickered on such a huge stage.
No sign of nerves from the Brit
After breaking serve in the sixth game to lead 4-2, Edmund was required to serve for the first set set two games later. He duly did with two aces; Lajović didn’t even get a sniff.
Edmund pressed again at the start of the second and had more break points when Lajović was serving at 2-2. On the second of those the British player hit a forehand onto the line which was called ‘out’ by someone in the crowd. Edmund’s next shot hit the net and the partisan crowd were given a warning before Lajović held on.
In the next game the Serbian earned his first break point on the Edmund serve but the Brit prevailed in an extended rally, in which umpire Jake Garner overruled a Lajović backhand which dropped just wide.
A game later Edmund broke through again to lead 4-3 and then converted his first set point at 5-4 when he fired down another giant serve.
At two sets up Edmund continued to dominate from the back of the court and his backhand was also incredibly solid in the extended rallies.
Lajovic fights back but Edmund stays strong
Edmund remained unperturbed despite the pressurised situation and served for the match at 5-4 in the third set. At that point the first signs of nerves began to show as his first serve percentage dropped allowing Lajović to pounce.
The Serbian then had the chance to flip the whole tie on its head when he forced two set points with Edmund serving at 5-6.
Yet the Brit saved them both and after recovering from a mini-break down in the tie break, his victory was confirmed when the Serbian pushed a backhand wide on match point.