Edmund puts Britain in semifinals

Kyle Edmund's 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (5) win on a wet and windy day at the outdoor Tasmajdan clay court stadium gave Britain an unassailable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five series.

In Andy Murray's absence, Kyle Edmund led Great Britain to the semis.   -  Reuters

Kyle Edmund took defending champion Britain into the semifinals of the Davis Cup by beating Dusan Lajovic of Serbia in straight sets in the first of the reverse singles on Sunday.

Edmund's 6-3 6-4 7-6 (5) win on a wet and windy day at the outdoor Tasmajdan clay court stadium gave Britain an unassailable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five series. He also won his opening singles on Friday against Janko Tipsarevic as he assumed the role of Murray as the leader of the team.

Murray decided not to play a few days after his second Wimbledon title but cheered the team from the sidelines. Britain hosts Argentina in September in the semifinals.

"It's a big difference if Andy plays or not, but Kyle didn't show any inexperience. He knows how to play on clay. He has a great forehand with a lot of spin," Lajovic said.

Serbia played without Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked player in the world, and the country's No. 2 Viktor Troicki. Djokovic took a brief break from tennis and did not come to his native Belgrade.

Edmund had to save two set points in the third set before holding serve and he won despite falling behind 4-2 in the tiebreaker. Lajovic sent a wild backhand way wide to give Edmund a match point and the Briton converted when Lajovic hit another backhand wide.

"I feel I did the best I could under the circumstances. He was the better player today," Lajovic said.

Edmund had broken serve for a 4-3 lead in the final set but dropped his serve for the first time in the match in the 10th game. He had breezed through the first set, finishing it off with two straight aces in the drizzle.

The light rain stopped at the start of the second, with Edmund breaking for 4-3 and closing it with a service winner. His huge forehand gave him 27 of 39 winners, while Lajovic finished with 21 winners.

"The forehand is his best weapon and it made the difference today," Lajovic said.