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Davis Cup: Dan Evans fightback halted by Tomic to level semi-final

Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for LTA

GLASGOW, Scotland -- Dan Evans, the only British Davis Cup player in Glasgow this weekend who doesn't appear on the posters, turned in a decent, spirited performance but couldn't stop Australia's Bernard Tomic from levelling the semifinal at one rubber apiece.

Playing before a Glaswegian crowd who generated more sound than any audience on Wimbledon's Centre Court ever has, Andy Murray had earlier given Britain the perfect start when he marmalised Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 inside the Emirates Arena. During Murray's warm-down and media duties, he always had one eye, sometimes two, on the television screen behind him showing live pictures of Evans' match, and he then sat courtside for the conclusion of the rubber, which Tomic won 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-7(4), 6-4 to give Australia parity.

Attention now turns to the doubles, with the expectation that Murray will feature on Saturday afternoon in the company of his brother Jamie, with Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth slated to face them. Should Britain win the doubles, Murray would take to the court on Sunday against Tomic with the opportunity to propel Britain into a first final since 1978.

This was a performance way above Evans' ranking of 300, vindicating captain Leon Smith's selection. Unfortunately for Evans, Smith, Murray and the rest of the British team, the performance was ultimately also below Tomic's status of No. 23 in the world, if only a little short. The original plan for Evans this week had been to play at a tournament in Istanbul - below the ATP World Tour - and it was only on Tuesday evening that he arrived in Scotland, having been summoned after an injury to Kyle Edmund in practice. And while he has been winning a lot of matches in recent weeks, those victories have come below the main tour, and this was the first time all year that he had encountered an opponent in the top 100, so it was understandable that it took him a while to adjust to Tomic, a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist.

As Murray says, Evans' game is like no other, but it's his mind that is more interesting. Sometimes accused of not applying himself, here the Midlander was completely tuned-in, and it was a much more competitive second set, with some of the exchanges bringing back memories of the occasion when Evans defeated Tomic at the 2013 US Open. Still, it was Tomic who took that second set in the tiebreak, quelling that rebellion. But there was another one on the way. When Tomic led by 3-0 and then 5-2 in the third set, it appeared as though this would be over in straight sets, but Evans came back to win a tiebreak, the highlight of which was the cheekiest of drop-shots. To think that Tomic's father once said that Evans wasn't good enough to practise with his son. There were some nervous Australians in the opening stages of the fourth set. Only when Tomic took the fourth set, and so the rubber, could they relax.

While Kokkinakis had been willing to try some haggis while preparing for this tie - even awarding the dish a seven out of ten - here on this indoor hard court he had the indignity of being force-fed a 'bagel' 6-0 set. For all his talent, Kokkinakis simply couldn't live with Murray, not on this court, not in this moment, not with the Scot playing with so much poise, power and purpose. Appearing in the city of his birth, and before a crowd of more than 8,000 Scots, a few dozen Australians, and a piper, the opening rubber could hardly have passed off any better for Murray and the home team.