(Reuters) – Britain beat France 2-1 in their first second leg of Davis Cup qualifiers in Innsbruck to top their group after Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie won their singles matches on Saturday night in straight sets.
Evans beat Adrian Mannarino 7-5 6-4 in just under two hours to give Great Britain the lead, hitting 14 winners and converting three break points as the Frenchman made 22 unforced errors.
Nuri defeated Arthur Rinderknech 6-2 7-6 (8), to take his second match point win in an absorbing tiebreak in which the Briton fought 4-1.
“It was a tough match, especially with a lot at stake,” Nouri told Eurosport. “He gave big balls in the tiebreak. The team that supported me was great, especially without an audience here, it wasn’t easy.”
Eighteen teams in six free-for-all groups, played in three cities, compete for places in the Davis Cup quarter-finals.
Qualifiers are being played in Innsbruck behind closed doors due to the re-imposition of COVID-19 restrictions in Austria.
Rinderknech had no time to rest after being appointed as a late substitute for Pierre-Huge Herbert as doubles partner to Nicolas Mahut and he excelled as they beat Joe Salisbury and Neil Skopsky 6-1, 6-4.
The doubles win gives France a chance to finish as one of the best teams in second place if Great Britain beats the Czech Republic on Sunday.
Australia on the edge
Australia, the 28-time defending champion, beat Hungary 2-1 in Turin, but is on the verge of elimination after finishing in the group stage with two wins and four record defeats.
After losing 3-0 to Croatia, Australia fell 1-0 when Zsumbur Beros achieved the biggest victory of his career by defeating John Millman 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Piros ranked 282 in the world, 210 without Millman, but that didn’t deter the 22-year-old Hungarian, who broke the serve 11 times.
Australia finally claimed their first win of the tournament when Alex de Minaur beat out a three-hour match to defeat Marton Voxovic 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (2) and draw 1-1.
Alex Bolt and John Pearce ended the tie by beating the Hungarian duo 6-3, 6-7 (11), 6-3. Hungary faces Croatia on Sunday.
In Madrid, Kazakhstan beat Sweden 2-1 with their doubles partner Andrei Golubev and Alexander Nedovsov to win after Swede Elias Ymir and Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik won their singles matches.
Sweden continues to lead the group, after beating Canada 3-0. Kazakhstan faces Canada on Sunday.
The group winners and the best two runners-up advance to the quarter-finals. (Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)
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