Andy Murray defeated Sam Querrey of the United States in California on Sunday to send Great Britain through to the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup for the first time in 28 years.
Britain went into the final day in San Diego leading the USA 2-1 and as hot favourites to progress, given Murray’s status as by far the highest-ranked player on show.
Querrey had beaten Murray in one of their previous six meetings and took the fight to his opponent but it was not enough as the Scot triumphed 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (3/7), 6-1, 6-3.
In the last eight, Britain will be on their travels again and almost certainly on clay again when they take on Italy in April.
Murray gave a yell of joy and was enveloped by his team-mates in a celebratory huddle.
The 26-year-old told BBC Sport: “We have a really good team spirit.
“I’ve known a lot of the guys for a long time. There’s pressure because you have responsibility for your team-mates but at the same time they’ve put me in a great position and have won important ties themselves.
“Sam came out playing extremely aggressive, he was very aggressive on my serve. I changed tactics at the beginning of the third set and I was able to dictate a lot of points after that.”
The timing of the Italy tie should be perfect for Murray, who will be beginning his build-up to the European clay-court season.
He said: “It’s good for me to play on the clay. Often going into the clay season I haven’t played any matches on it for 11 months. It’ll be a tough match.”
Britain were unable to clinch a rapid victory on Saturday as defeat in the doubles kept the match alive.
The British pair of Colin Fleming and Dominic Inglot, playing in place of the rested Murray, were no match for Bob and Mike Bryan, who clinched a 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory in San Diego.
It left Britain leading the tie 2-1 following singles victories for Murray and, brilliantly, James Ward on day one.
Wins for Murray over Donald Young and, thrillingly, Ward in five sets over Querrey on Friday put the visiting team 2-0 up.
Wimbledon champion Murray showed no ill effects from his Australian Open exertions and had no apparent problems adapting to the newly-laid clay at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres baseball team, as he raced to a 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 win.
World number 175 Ward’s win was even more impressive, though, as he battled for more than three hours on his way to a 1-6, 7-6 (7/3,) 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory.
The big-serving Querrey, ranked 49th, was the clear favourite, but the English player justified the faith shown in him by Smith to record a famous success that paved the way for Sunday night's triumph.