GHENT (Belgium) • British captain Leon Smith hinted that he could keep faith with Kyle Edmund over James Ward as their second singles player, if the Davis Cup final goes into a potentially decisive fifth rubber against Belgium today.
With Britain chasing their first Davis Cup since 1936, the tie was tantalisingly poised at 1-1 after the first day thanks to Andy Murray's 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 win over Ruben Bemelmans in the second singles rubber.
But Edmund was devastated after he lost a two-set lead in his opener against David Goffin at the Flanders Expo in Ghent. While Edmund said he felt like he had let his country down after his 3-6, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-0 defeat by the world No. 16, Smith was hugely encouraged by his performance and Britain's captain will take his time before making his final decision.
There have been suggestions that Smith will replace the 20-year-old with the more experienced Ward against Bemelmans or Steve Darcis if the final is locked at 2-2 today.
Yet he indicated that he could stick with Edmund, who has impressed on clay recently.
"For Kyle, obviously it was a very good first two sets. That's why we went with him in the first place," Smith said. "It's difficult to gauge it sometimes because he's playing Challengers on clay.
"But I watched him when he played in Argentina, knew the matches he won, in particular in the semi-final and final. Even though he was playing people that were just outside world top 100 they were still very good clay-courters.
"But, of course, the experience of David and also the environment at some point did take a toll. He probably had to win it in straight sets or even in four. Yeah, it was tough. But I think it's important for him to realise the level he can obviously play at, and now keep building on that."
Murray yesterday played alongside his brother Jamie in doubles against Darcis and Goffin.
Darcis had originally been down to play with Kimmer Coppejans but Belgian captain Johan van Herck switched his line-up shortly before play began.
Andy Murray will take on Goffin in the fourth singles rubber today.
DAVIS CUP FINAL
Belgium v Britain, Day 3 StarHub Ch201, 10pm