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Russia edge ahead after two five-set thrillers

ESPN staff
April 5, 2013 « Davis backs Adkins sacking | Chartbeat test »
Dan Evans congratulates Dmitry Tursunov at the Ricoh Arena © Getty Images
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Great Britain suffered double heart-break in their Davis Cup Group I second round-tie at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, as James Ward and Dan Evans both lost in five sets to allow Russia a 2-0 lead.

Following Evans' 4-6 7-6 4-6 7-5 4-6 loss to Russian world No. 67 Dmitry Tursunov earlier on Friday, James Ward was narrowly defeated 4-6 4-6 7-5 6-3 8-6 as Evgeny Donskoy came from two sets behind in the second singles match.

Ward opened with a break to steal early momentum in the first set, before dominant serving saw the Brit take a firm stronghold. However, following a Ward error on the forehand Donskoy broke back to level 4-4, but Ward replied instantly and then held serve to take the first set.

More solid serving saw Ward take the second set, before Donskoy rallied to win the next two and force the decider. Ward saved two match points, but the Russian claimed the third to take the match from two sets down and move Russia into a 2-0 lead.

Earlier Evans, replacing world No. 2 Andy Murray, produced a fantastic performance but could not topple Russian world No. 67 Dmitry Tursunov, narrowly losing a five-set thriller after almost four hours on court.

A wide forehand from Evans gave Tursunov impetus to take the opening set, but the Brit hit back in the second with some great defensive play, forcing the tie-break which he narrowly won 7-5.

The Russian broke in the third, before holding his serve under nerve to edge ahead but Evans stepped up to respond immediately. After suffering an early break in the fourth set, Evans returned the favour to draw level. Tursunov saved set point with a huge backhand before Evans eventually took it to a decider.

Despite an early break and some strong serving from 22-year-old Evans, Tursunov held on for victory to edge Russia ahead.

Elsewhere, defending champions Czech Republic moved 2-0 clear of Kazakshtan after Jan Hajek and Lukas Rosol both tasted victory against Mikhail Kukushkin (6-3 6-2 6-4) and Andrey Golubev (4-6 6-4 6-2 7-6(6)) respectively.

It was honours even between Argentina and France as Jo Wilfried-Tsonga defeated Charly Berlocq 4-6 6-2 6-3 5-7 6-2 in five sets before Juan Monaco beat Gilles Simon, drafted in yesterday for the injured Richard Gasquet, 7-6(2) 6-2 6-4.

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