(Reuters) – Britain beat France 2-0 in their opening Davis Cup tie in Innsbruck, Austria to move top of the group after Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie won their singles rubbers in straight sets on Saturday.
Evans beat Adrian Mannarino 7-5 6-4 in a little under two hours to give Britain the lead, firing 14 winners and converting three break points as the Frenchman made 22 unforced errors.
Norrie defeated Arthur Rinderknech 6-2 7-6(8), clinching victory on his second match point in an absorbing tiebreak in which the Briton fought back from 4-1 down.
“It was a difficult match especially with a lot on the line. He came up with some great volleys on the tiebreak there. The team behind me were great, especially with no fans here, it wasn’t easy,” Norrie told Eurosport.
“It was a tough game early on and I found a lot of confidence – he went through a little patch where he missed a lot and I took advantage of that. All credit to the guy to make it to the tiebreak and I was fortunate to sneak through there.”
The ties in Innsbruck are being played behind closed doors due to Austria’s reintroduction of a COVID-19 lockdown.
Australia claimed their first victory of the tournament when Alex de Minaur came through a three-hour match to beat Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 7-5 2-6 7-6(2) in Turin, Italy and level the tie at 1-1.
Having lost 3-0 to Croatia, Australia went 1-0 down when Zsombor Piros claimed the biggest win of his career after beating John Millman 4-6 6-4 6-3.
Piros is ranked 282nd in the world — 210 places below Millman — but that did not deter the 22-year-old Hungarian who broke serve 11 times.
In Madrid, Kazakhstan beat Sweden 2-1 with their doubles pairing of Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov sealing victory after Swede Elias Ymer and Kazakh Alexander Bublik won their singles rubbers.
Sweden remain top of the group having beaten Canada 3-0. Kazakhstan face Canada on Sunday.
The group winners and two best runners-up qualify for the quarter-finals.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ed Osmond)