GB targets Davis Cup SF against old rival France; Djokovic, Sock, Kyrgios, Goffin headline other ties
Great Britain are preparing to take on France in the Davis Cup quarter-finals but will be without the injured Andy Murray
As world No1 Andy Murray continues to rehab the elbow injury that took him out of the Miami Masters last week, it falls to British Nos2 and 3, Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund, to carry British hopes in the Davis Cup quarter-finals that get under way on Friday.
Murray has played just one match since winning the Dubai Duty Free Championships, losing his opener in Indian Wells a month ago, and although a photo on Twitter has confirmed that he is now back in training on the clay of southern France, his first official appearance on a tennis court is scheduled to be the altogether less demanding exhibition event, Match for Africa 3, for the Roger Federer Foundation in Zurich on Monday.
The team nominated by captain Leon Smith therefore comprises: Dan Evans (rank 44), Kyle Edmund (rank 47), Jamie Murray (doubles rank No8), and Dominic Inglot (doubles rank 44).
Smith commented: “In Dan and Kyle we have two top-50 singles players who are improving all the time on the tour and both with games capable of upsetting higher ranked opponents.”
Evans reached the final in Sydney at the start of the year, beating Dominic Thiem along the way, and made the fourth round at the Australian Open, beating Marin Cilic. After scoring a win and a loss in the first round of Davis Cup action against Canada, he twice beat Dustin Brown—in Dubai and Indian Wells—but arrives in Rouen with a 3-4 win-loss since Melbourne.
Edmund came up just short of beating No3 Stan Wawrinka in Brisbane’s quarter-finals, and did the same against Milos Raonic in the quarters in Delray Beach. His only win since came in the first round of Indian Wells, where he then went on to take Novak Djokovic to a second-set tie-break. He is 7-8 for the season.
Jamie Murray, playing with Bruno Soares, won the Acapulco title, made the final in Sydney, plus three semis, including prestigious Indian Wells. Inglot reached the final in Marseille with Robin Haase, and is 8-6 for the season. He and Murray joined forces to beat the strong Canadian pairing of Vasek Pospisil and Daniel Nestor in the doubles rubber of GB’s first-round tie.
The good news for GB is that they do not face a full-strength French squad, which is missing five of its top six players. No10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has just become a father, while No11 Gael Monfils has a knee injury and No22 Richard Gasquet is recovering from an appendectomy.
Even so France, which boasts 11 players in the top 100 and five in the top 30, is still a formidable force. The line-up is headed by No17 Lucas Pouille and No68 Jeremy Chardy—a late substitution for No30 Gilles Simon. In addition, the tie will be played in France, on clay, and will include one of the world’s most successful doubles players, former No1 Nicolas Mahut with Julien Benneteau.
Aside from Pouille, other top-20 names heading their nation’s campaign are No2 Djokovic for Serbia, No14 David Goffin for Belgium, No15 Jack Sock for the USA, No16 Nick Kyrgios for Australia, and No19 Pablo Carreno Busta for Spain.
Great Britain vs France: quick hits
· Meeting for 22nd time, GB lead 12-9
· Last meeting: QF 2015, Queen’s Club—GB won and went on to win title
· Last meeting on clay: 1978 at Roland Garros, GB won 3-2
· GB champions 10 times (last in 2015), France champions nine times (last in 2001)
· France in eighth consecutive quarter-final, reached semis in five of those eight, and has 13-14 QF win-loss record since introduction of World Group in 1981
· GB in fourth straight quarter-final, and has won three of its six QFs since 1981
· France won five of last six home ties
· GB is only nation to compete every year since first in Davis Cup, 1900
· France one of eight nations to hold No1 ranking: currently No3
· GB reached No1 ranking for first time after 2015 victory, currently No2
· Winners will face either Serbia or Spain in the semi on 15-17 September
Ties and draws
Australia (8) vs USA (11): USA leads 26-20
Venue: Pat Rafter Arena, Brisbane (outdoor hard)
R1 Jordan Thompson vs Jack Sock
R2 Nick Kyrgios v John Isner
R3 Sam Groth & John Peers vs Steve Johnson & Sam Querrey
R4 Nick Kyrgios vs Jack Sock
R5 Jordan Thompson vs John Isner
Belgium (5) vs Italy (10): Italy leads 5-3
Venue: Spiroudome de Charleroi, Charleroi (indoor hard)
R1 Steve Darcis vs Paolo Lorenzi
R2 David Goffin vs Andreas Seppi
R3 Ruben Bemelmans & Joris De Loore vs Simone Bolelli & Alessandro Giannessi
R4 David Goffin vs Paolo Lorenzi
R5 Steve Darcis vs Andreas Seppi
France (3) vs GB (2): GB leads 12-9
Venue: Kindarena, Rouen (indoor clay)
R1 Lucas Pouille vs Kyle Edmund
R2 Jermey Chardy vs Dan Evans
R3 Julien Benneteau & Nicolas Mahut vs Dom Inglot & Jamie Murray
R4 Lucas Pouille vs Dan Evans
R5 Jeremy Chardy vs Kyle Edmund
Serbia (9) vs Spain (12): Spain leads 1-0
Venue: Aleksandar Nikolic Arena, Belgrade (indoor hard)
R1 Novak Djokovic vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas
R2 Viktor Troicki vs Pablo Carreno-Busta
R3 Viktor Troicki & Nenad Zimonjic vs Marc Lopez & Jaume Munar
R4 Novak Djokovic vs Pablo Carreno-Busta
R5 Viktor Troicki vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas