Dan Evans beat Adrian Mannarino in the Davis Cup encounter to give Great Britain a 1-0 lead against France.
In a high-quality Group C match in Innsbruck, Austria, the British number two grew in confidence to defeat Mannarino, 7-5, 6-4. When Cameron Norrie takes on Arthur Rinderknech later on Saturday, he will try to give Great Britain an unassailable 2-0 lead.
In the doubles, Great Britain’s Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski will face Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert. After a one-hour and 55-minute battle, Evans defeated Mannarino in straight sets. Evans overcame early serving struggles to win the match in straight sets.
Evans, 31, has had a successful season, winning his maiden ATP championship and rising to a career-high of number 22 in the world, similar to the rest of the British side. Evans and Mannarino both displayed nervousness in the first set, with Evans falling behind 0-30 on serve four times.
After a long, passionate conversation with France captain Sebastien Grosjean, Mannarino broke straight back to love to serve for the opener at 5-4.
Evans stepped up his game to earn additional breakpoints, converting the critical one with a massive forehand down the line and ending the set with a thunderous serve that Mannarino couldn’t return. As he recovered his serve in the second set, Mannarino cut a furious figure, constantly signalling to his captain and the empty stands.
Evans faced two break points after wasting a breakpoint in the fifth game, but he blended serve and volleys with his huge forehand to hold off the 33-year-old.
Evans served out to love in the first set and roared in triumph at the GB support box, showing no traces of his troubles. The Davis Cup will be played in three cities, with the semi-finals and final taking place in Madrid from December 3 to 5.
Teams compete in two round-robin ties, each of which consists of two singles and one doubles rubber, all of which are played in best-of-three sets. Each group’s top two teams, as well as the two best runners-up, advance to the quarter-finals.