Great Britain’s Davis Cup defence is over after a narrow defeat to Argentina, in what proved to be a classic tie.
After falling 2-0 behind on the opening day, Britain fought back to level proceedings following Andy Murray’s victory over Guido Pella in Sunday’s opening singles match.
That took the match to a decider and after much speculation about who might play, Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer was chosen to take on Britain’s Dan Evans in a winner takes all clash.
In the end not even the patriotic Glasgow crowd and endless chants could inspire a British comeback, as the Argentine, who was selected ahead of Friday’s hero Juan Martin Del Potro, recorded a 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory.
Brilliant Murray draws Britain level
Neither star man Del Potro, who was believed to nursing an injury after a gruelling five-setter on Friday, or Mayer were present on the Argentina bench during Murray’s 6-3 6-2 6-3 victory Pella.
Murray, too, appeared to feeling the strains after playing in Saturday’s doubles rubber, though his sheer resolve and force of will saw him see off the world number 49.
The British number one did require a medical time out for a thigh strain at the start of the third set, after brilliantly taking the opening two.
Pella had no answer to the relentless returns and hammering groundstrokes, as Murray looked to shorten the points at every opportunity.
In the end not even his waning body, which has played over ten hours of tennis this weekend, could stop him as he levelled the match at two matches all.
Mayer selected over Del Potro
That gave world number 53 Evans his chance, after Kyle Edmund was picked ahead of him for Friday’s second singles slot, and following the omission of Del Potro the odds appeared to have swung in Britain’s favour.
Evans had flourished in a similar scenario back in 2013, when he beat Evgeny Donskoy of Russia in a deciding fifth match, and he made the perfect start here.
The Brit, who also had match point against Stan Wawrinka at the US Open a couple of weeks ago, claimed an early break, as Mayer made a string of errors before eventually conceding the first set.
Evans falls after taking the opener
Even so the rangy Argentine, who is currently ranked 114th in the world, began to show why he has been as high as world number 21 and he quickly settled in the second set.
His serve was impeccable from then on, and in the second set his first delivery found its target 81 per cent of the time.
Mayer was also excelling from the back of the court, beating Evens for power and accuracy in the baseline rallies.
He broke the Brit’s serve in the opening game of the third and early in the fourth, as Evans struggled to repel his opponent’s onslaught.
Evans forced Mayer to serve out the match at 5-4 in the fourth however he held to 0 to seal the victory.