Glasgow: Argentina captain Daniel Orsanic said he would savour a special moment for his side after they claimed a place in the Davis Cup final following a 3-2 victory over holders Great Britain.
Leonardo Mayer fired Argentina into their fourth final in ten years after his victory over Dan Evans in the decisive fifth rubber.
Argentina, who will be hoping for their first victory in the tournament at the fifth attempt, will travel to Croatia for November’s final after the Croats booked their berth with a 3-2 win over France in Zadar.
“I am very proud of all the players. It is a very special moment for the whole team,” the Argentina captain said.
“It is an excellent victory to beat Great Britain here in Glasgow. It means a lot. I believe it will be an honour to play another final but today we will celebrate a semi-final victory.”
Mayer secured Argentina’s place in their first final since 2011 with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over Evans in the second reverse singles rubber after Andy Murray’s straight sets victory over Guido Pella earlier in the day had given Great Britain some hope.
“Leonardo’s match was something we believed could happen but I think it was a great effort on his part. Even though he is out of the top 100 that is not his level,” Orsanic added.
“After playing a little nervously in the first set he came out with his best tennis and the tennis we are used to seeing that won a lot of Davis Cup matches in the past.
“That is why we brought him in for this crucial match.”
Now ranked outside the top 100, Mayer had been a late replacement for Juan Martin del Potro, who had been a surprise pick for the doubles on Saturday.
The 27-year-old is still feeling his way back after a series of wrist injuries pushed him to the brink of retirement and Orsanic revealed that his marathon five hour battle with Murray on Friday had taken its toll on the 2009 US Open winner following a punishing summer schedule.
“It was so long and so demanding and Juan Martin gave more than he has in that match. That had a very large cost for us and for him,” the Argentine captain said.
“Originally we would have hoped he would play the fifth rubber if possible but after Friday’s match we could not think of that.
“That is not something we could say to the press and we had to keep some cards close to our chest to keep Great Britain thinking about what we would do.
“That is why we asked him to play the doubles to see if his quality could help Argentina claim an early victory but that didn’t happen.”
Defeat ends Britain’s hopes of retaining the trophy they won for the first time in 79 years with a win over Belgium last year.
“It feels rough and so it should,” Great Britain captain Leon Smith said.
“We worked really hard to get to this point again but we’ve had some great times in the Davis Cup.
“It is amazing when you reflect back on it and we’ve had an amazing run.
“Our team is in much better shape than it was a few years ago. Next year is another opportunity to try and keep building the team.”
World number two Murray said the British team, who rose from being on the verge of relegation to Group III in 2010, to being champions in 2015, could still be proud in defeat.
“It’s still been a great effort and a great run,” Murray said.
“No one would have expected this four or five years ago so we should be proud regardless.”