Great Britain faces decisive Davis Cup doubles after Norrie's close singles loss to France
Posted : 17 September 2023
Great Britain faces a crucial deciding doubles match to reach the Davis Cup Finals knockout stage after Cameron Norrie lost a closely contested singles match against France's Ugo Humbert.
With a place in the Final Eight on the line, Norrie suffered a 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 7-5 defeat to Humbert, despite showing resilience throughout the match.
The British team's hopes now rest on the doubles pairing of Dan Evans and Neal Skupski, who must secure a win against the experienced French duo Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
In the earlier singles match, Dan Evans staged a remarkable comeback, rallying from a set and a break down to defeat France's Arthur Fils with a score of 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. This victory kept Great Britain's chances alive in the Davis Cup group stage, setting up the pivotal doubles clash.
The Davis Cup group stage features four nations: Great Britain, Australia, France, and Switzerland, who compete in a round-robin format. The top two teams from this stage will advance to the knockout stage known as the 'Final Eight,' which will take place in Malaga in November. Australia has already secured their place, while Switzerland has been eliminated, leaving Great Britain with a must-win scenario against France to progress.
Captain Leon Smith faced a challenging selection dilemma, ultimately choosing to field his highest-ranked players, Evans and Norrie, for the crucial singles matches. This decision allowed Evans to have a break before partnering with Neal Skupski in the decisive doubles match against France.
The match against France was a formidable challenge, with the French team introducing 19-year-old Arthur Fils in his Davis Cup debut, making him the highest-ranked teenager on the ATP Tour at 44th in the world. Despite the initial difficulties, Evans's fighting spirit and the support of a record crowd of 13,000 propelled him to a stunning turnaround, securing the win.
Now, Great Britain must rely on their strong doubles pairing to secure the victory that will propel them into the Davis Cup Finals knockout stage, as they aim to recapture the Davis Cup glory they last achieved in 2015.