For the second time in 12 months, Kaipo Marshall produced some fifth-rubber heroics to lead Barbados to victory and keep them in World Group II of the Davis Cup, tennis' premier male team competition. Marshall repelled the challenge of Rowland Phillips 6-4 1-6 6-2 to clinch a 3-2 victory over hosts Jamaica at the Eric Bell Centre in Kingston on Sunday.

"I'm super happy. These types of matches make you dig as deep as possible, especially with the fact that I didn't serve well this tie," Marshall explained having hit 12 double faults in the match.

Not even a lengthy rain delay when the Barbadian was leading 4-0 in the third could thwart his quest for glory, and by the time the match resumed just after 6:30pm Jamaica time, the majority of the partisan crowd had left the venue as the 21-year-old converted on his second match point to complete victory in two hours and 14 minutes, with the Barbados team racing on to court in short but rapturous celebrations.

It was only Marshall's second triumph in nine Davis Cup singles matches but his previous win came in similar do-or-die circumstances against Pacific Oceania in Bridgetown last year.

"I think I've had a crazy rollercoaster of a year since then, but that match definitely helped me in this match," he said.
The win keeps Barbados in Group II while Jamaica have been relegated to Group III.

Non-playing captain, Noel Rutherford said he was disappointed but not so heartbroken at the result. "You have to give credit to the Bajan team," he said.

"I thought we had it when we levelled it all after Blaise came out firing;, I thought we would have closed it off in the final singles but that wasn't to be, this kid came out fighting and you have to give him credit."

Blaise Bicknell won both his singles matches, but defeat in doubles alongside Phillips, plus wins for Darian King and Marshall over Phillips were enough to take Barbados to the win.

Blaise Bicknell brushed aside Darian King 6-1 6-0 to draw Jamaica level at 2-2 and extend their World Group II Davis Cup Playoff tie to a fifth and deciding rubber at the Eric Bell Centre in Kingston.

King, hampered by a left knee injury, was never in the contest as Bicknell dominated exhibition style.

"I played well throughout. Of course, he's not 100 percent but I thought I made very good decisions out there and I made him work for what he needed to."

Jamaica, who took the lead through Bicknell in the first singles rubber, fell behind after King beat Rowland Phillips to close Saturday and then returned alongside Haydn Lewis to snatch a thrilling doubles contest to start Sunday's action.

It means the tie will be decided by Jamaica's Phillips and Kaipo Marshall of Barbados and Bicknell, ranked 319 in the world said he has all confidence that Phillips can get the job done for Jamaica.

"If there's anyone I want in this position is Randy because he's Mr Davis Cup, as we call him."

Phillips is Jamaica's winningest Davis Cup player with 26 wins against 12 losses.

Marshall has recorded just one win in eight matches but that success came heroically against Pacific Oceania's Clement Mainguy last year when he rallied from a set and 4-5 down to win and keep Barbados in Group II.

The winner of this tie will remain in Group II, while loser will be relegated to Group III this summer. from my Galaxy

 

Darian King and Haydn Lewis have given Barbados a 2-1 lead over Jamaica after defeating Blaise Bicknell and Rowland Phillips in a thrilling doubles rubber in their World Group II Davis Cup Playoff tie at the Eric Bell Centre in Kingston.

King and Lewis rallied from a set down to secure victory 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in 2 hours and 45 minutes.

The tie was locked at 1-1 after Saturday's opening day which saw Bicknell beating Kaipo Marshall 6-1 3-6 6-1 and King edging Phillips in a 6-3 3-6 7-5 thriller.

The Jamaican pair edged a very tight first set, after breaking Lewis' serve in the seventh game, before they closed it out at the second opportunity by again breaking the Barbadians in the ninth.

While the first set had just one break of serve, there were three in the second with Barbados claiming two in the third and seventh games before King served out the set at love.

It set up a blockbuster third set and it was Barbados who held their nerve on the back of an outstanding performance from Lewis.

The lefty volleyed and returned superbly and then closed it out with precision serving.

"I have been in this situation a lot of times and I understand Darian, he's been my partner for many years, so I know that he can get down, so a lot of times I have to be the one to take control."

The 38-year-old has been representing Barbados at this level for 22 years and he drew on all his experience in the final set.

He was clinical in the decider, controlling the big moments when others seemed indecisive.

Overall it was a high quality match, with all four players having their moments.

King saved four set points when serving down 1-2 in the third, pulling out the marathon game despite a controversial line call unfortunately going against them.

Another big moment was when the Jamaicans saved four break points when Phillips was serving at 3-3, but Barbados ultimately won the marathon game after 20 minutes, which was the crucial break needed to take the match.

Blaise Bicknell is currently facing Darian King in the first reverse singles, a match Jamaica must win to stay alive in the tie, and remain in Group II.

 

Jannik Sinner relished his role as Italy’s national hero after guiding his country to their first Davis Cup title for 47 years.

When Sinner was staring at three match points against Novak Djokovic on Saturday with Italy 1-0 down to Serbia, it appeared hugely improbable that he would be lifting the trophy 24 hours later.

But the world number four somehow recovered to defeat Djokovic, repeated the feat in doubles along with Lorenzo Sonego and then saw off Australia’s Alex De Minaur 6-3 6-0 on Sunday to clinch a 2-0 victory.

That sparked joyous celebrations among Sinner and his team-mates and the Italian-dominant crowd at a packed and vibrant Palacio de Deportes Martin Carpena in Malaga.

The victory earned Italy just their second Davis Cup title after success in 1976 as they continue to reap rewards from their heavy investment in men’s tennis in recent years, while for Australia it was more disappointment after their 2-0 loss to Canada in the final 12 months ago.

Sinner has elevated himself to the status of biggest challenger to Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz for the major titles and his performances here will send him into 2024 on a huge high.

“This is a really important win for me and for the whole team and Italy together,” he said. “We felt the pressure. We had a lot of responsibility. But still we managed. We were excited. Obviously everyone is really happy about the end result.

“I came here with confidence. I gave 100 per cent, all what I had, and I think the whole team, they pushed each other, and this is maybe our key why we are standing here with this trophy.”

It was fitting that it was Sinner, who had won both singles and doubles rubbers in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, was the man to seal it.

Given Australia’s strength in doubles, though, the crucial win may have been Matteo Arnaldi’s in the opening rubber against Alexei Popyrin.

Nerves were all too evident in a clash of two young players inexperienced in the unique pressure-cooker of Davis Cup, but it was 22-year-old Arnaldi who ultimately handled it better to win 7-5 2-6 6-4.

Popyrin, 24, seemed to have a grip on the match after losing the opening set and had eight break points in the decider, but Arnaldi was rewarded for bold play at the big moments and it was his opponent who tightened up when it really mattered.

A tearful Arnaldi said: “It’s very emotional, more because a very important person passed away a month ago for me and my girlfriend so this is for him. I think now I won one of the most important matches in my life. I’m sorry for Alexei, because he deserved to win, for sure.”

Popyrin was distraught, saying: “It’s heartbreaking. I let it slip, and it hurts.”

De Minaur had had a day extra to prepare for the clash than Sinner but had lost all five previous matches against the Italian and had no answer to the 22-year-old’s power.

Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt, part of their last title-winning team 20 years ago, rued another near miss, saying: “Obviously it’s disappointing for the boys. The first match out there today could have gone either way.

“Jannik, he’s played awesome all week. He backed up what he did yesterday against Novak and played extremely good tennis.

“I’m super proud of all the boys and the support staff and the team. We did absolutely everything we possibly could have, and we have come agonisingly close yet again.”

De Minaur vowed to make it third time lucky, saying: “We are very, very close. It’s stinks like hell. Again, like I said last year in this same position, we’ll be back. We’ll get this. We’ve got a very, very strong future ahead of us.”

To do that they will have to get past Italy, though, and they have other young players waiting in the wings.

Sinner said: “We are all very young. We are really hungry to try to win it one more time for our life, but in another way, having this feeling at least once, it is a really special feeling.”

Jannik Sinner followed up his heroics against Novak Djokovic by leading Italy to their first Davis Cup title for 47 years.

When Sinner was staring at three match points on Saturday with Italy 1-0 down to Serbia, it appeared hugely improbable that he would be lifting the trophy 24 hours later.

But the world number four somehow recovered to defeat Djokovic, repeated the feat in doubles along with Lorenzo Sonego and then saw off Australia’s Alex De Minaur 6-3 6-0 on Sunday to clinch a 2-0 victory.

That sparked joyous celebrations among Sinner’s team-mates and the Italian-dominant crowd at a packed and vibrant Palacio de Deportes Martin Carpena in Malaga.

The victory earns Italy just their second Davis Cup title after success in 1976 as they continue to reap rewards from their heavy investment in men’s tennis in recent years, while for Australia it was more disappointment after their 2-0 loss to Canada in the final 12 months ago.

In Sinner, Italy have a potential superstar and it was fitting that it was the 22-year-old, who had won both singles and doubles rubbers in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, was the man to seal it.

Given Australia’s strength in doubles, though, the crucial win may have been Matteo Arnaldi’s in the opening rubber against Alexei Popyrin.

Nerves were all too evident in a clash of two young players inexperienced in the unique pressure-cooker of Davis Cup but it was 22-year-old Arnaldi who ultimately handled it better to win 7-5 2-6 6-4.

Popyrin, 24, seemed to have a grip on the match after losing the opening set and had eight break points in the decider but Arnaldi was rewarded for bold play at the big moments and it was his opponent who tightened up when it really mattered.

A tearful Arnaldi said: “It’s very emotional, more because a very important person passed away a month ago for me and my girlfriend so this is for him. I think now I won one of the most important matches in my life.

“I’m sorry for Alexei, because he deserved to win, for sure. He was playing better. But sometimes Davis (Cup) is like this. I had my team cheering a lot, and I think that helped a lot.”

Popyrin was distraught, saying: “It’s heartbreaking. I let it slip, and it hurts.”

De Minaur has a strong record in the competition but he went into the must-win clash knowing he had lost all five previous matches against Sinner.

The schedule was in his favour having had a day to prepare following a comfortable semi-final victory over Finland and there was a real spring in his step as he took to the court.

But Sinner’s big weapons quickly began to dictate proceedings, with the Italian breaking his rival’s serve twice in the opening set.

Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt, part of the team the last time they won the title 20 years ago, tried to inspire De Minaur to a comeback but this was Sinner’s moment.

Novak Djokovic told rowdy British fans to “shut up” after leading Serbia to a 2-0 victory in the Davis Cup quarter-finals in Malaga.

The world number one showed his annoyance with a section of the 5,000-strong British support by cupping his ear and blowing ironic kisses at the end of the first set of his 6-4 6-4 victory over Cameron Norrie.

When the same group of fans began drumming during Djokovic’s on-court interview, the Serbian responded: “Learn how to respect players, learn how to behave yourself,” before adding, “no, you shut up, you be quiet”.

It was a sour end to what was a disappointing evening for Britain, with the writing on the wall once Jack Draper fell to a 7-6 (2) 7-6 (6) defeat by Miomir Kecmanovic in a opening rubber that was a must-win.

On his spat with the supporters, Djokovic said: “In the Davis Cup, it’s normal that sometimes fans step over the line but, in the heat of the moment, you react too, and you show that you don’t allow this kind of behaviour.

“They can do whatever they want, but I’m going to respond to that. I was trying to talk and they were purposely starting to play the drums so that I don’t talk and they were trying to annoy me the entire match. So we had a little bit of a chat in the end.”

Britain’s dramatic success against France in Manchester in September had sent them through to the final eight event for the first time in the revamped format.

The tie did not get under way until 6.10pm, more than two hours later than billed, because of the over-running first match of the day between Italy and the Netherlands.

The near-capacity crowd, which also included a sizeable number of Serbian supporters, gave the event the sort of authentic Davis Cup feel that has so often been missing since the switch from the home-and-away format.

Among those sat in the stands at the Palacio de Deportes Martin Carpena was Dan Evans, who had hoped to build on his brilliant performances in Manchester before a calf injury prematurely ended his season.

But even the British number two would have had his work cut out against an inspired Kecmanovic, who was chosen ahead of the higher-ranked Laslo Djere and fully justified the decision.

Draper had the better form coming in having reached his first ATP Tour final this month and had beaten Kecmanovic – ranked five places higher at 55 – earlier this year, but the Serbian was dominant on serve and edged two tie-breaks.

It was only the 21-year-old’s second Davis Cup rubber and he admitted knowing Djokovic was looming added to the nerves he felt.

“That’s seemingly a must-win match for me,” said Draper. “It’s definitely a tough challenge to go out there knowing that there is a lot more pressure on me to win the match.

“That’s the kind of pressure that, if I want to be a top player, I have to cope with and have to perform under. It’s tough not to get the win today. I gave it all I had mentally. I didn’t do a few things as well as I wanted to, but he played a great match.”

Djokovic had lost only six of his 61 previous matches this season, with just one defeat since the Wimbledon final, while his Davis Cup record is utterly formidable.

It is 12 years since he lost a singles match in the competition, and even that was by retirement, with now 21 straight wins and only four sets dropped.

Norrie had managed only a single set in three previous meetings and has endured a miserable run since the clay-court swing back in the spring, but he was captain Leon Smith’s only option once Andy Murray pulled out with a minor shoulder injury.

He did not put in a bad performance by any means, but was fire-fighting from the moment he was broken at 2-2 in the opening set and won only eight points on Djokovic’s serve during the contest.

While Serbia are a step closer to the trophy, Britain must start again in February in the qualifiers – barring an unlikely wild card through to September’s group stage.

Novak Djokovic ended Great Britain’s hopes of winning another Davis Cup title as he led Serbia to a 2-0 quarter-final victory in Malaga.

Britain’s dramatic success against France in Manchester in September had sent them through to the final eight event for the first time in the revamped format.

But they fell at the first hurdle, with Miomir Kecmanovic defeating Jack Draper 7-6 (2) 7-6 (6) before Djokovic comfortably saw off Cameron Norrie 6-4 6-4 to send a jubilant Serbia through to a semi-final against Italy on Saturday.

Given the presence of Djokovic, who cemented his position at the top of the sport by winning a seventh ATP Finals title on Sunday, Britain’s hopes depended on Draper winning the first rubber.

The tie did not get under way until 6.10pm, more than two hours later than billed, because of the over-running first match of the day between Italy and the Netherlands.

There were around 5,000 British fans in a near-capacity crowd, giving the event the sort of authentic Davis Cup feel that has so often been missing since the switch from the home-and-away format.

Among those sat in the stands at the Palacio de Deportes Martin Carpena was Dan Evans, who had hoped to build on his brilliant performances in Manchester before a calf injury prematurely ended his season.

But even the British number two would have had his work cut out against an inspired Kecmanovic, who was chosen ahead of the higher-ranked Laslo Djere and fully justified the decision.

Draper had the better form coming in having reached his first ATP Tour final this month and had beaten Kecmanovic – ranked five places higher at 55 – earlier this year, but the Serbian was dominant on serve and edged two tie-breaks.

Draper hung on during the first set, saving two break points at 3-4 and then two set points at 4-5 with some gutsy play only to double fault twice in the tie-break.

His chance came when he recovered from 2-5 to level at 5-5 in the second tie-break but, despite saving a match point, he could not force a decider.

It was only the 21-year-old’s second Davis Cup rubber and he admitted knowing Djokovic was looming added to the nerves he felt.

“That’s seemingly a must-win match for me,” said Draper. “It’s definitely a tough challenge to go out there knowing that there is a lot more pressure on me to win the match.

“That’s the kind of pressure that, if I want to be a top player, I have to cope with and have to perform under. It’s tough not to get the win today. I gave it all I had mentally. I didn’t do a few things as well as I wanted to, but he played a great match.”

Djokovic had lost only six of his 61 previous matches this season, with just one defeat since the Wimbledon final, while his Davis Cup record is utterly formidable.

It is 12 years since he lost a singles match in the competition, and even that was by retirement, with now 21 straight wins and only four sets dropped.

Norrie had managed only a single set in three previous meetings and has endured a miserable run since the clay-court swing back in the spring, but he was captain Leon Smith’s only option once Andy Murray pulled out with a minor shoulder injury.

He did not put in a bad performance by any means, but was fire-fighting from the moment he was broken at 2-2 in the opening set, throwing everything he had at Djokovic to fight back from 0-40 in his next service game.

The Serbian lost just three points on serve in the first set – and only eight in the match – and blew kisses towards a vocal British fan who had been warned by the umpire after clinching it to love.

Norrie promptly dropped serve to start the second set before again hanging on grimly, this time saving five break points at 1-3, but Djokovic was able to stay in his comfort zone through to the finish line.

While Serbia are a step closer to the trophy, Britain must start again in February in the qualifiers – barring an unlikely wild card through to September’s group stage.

Dan Evans has withdrawn from next month’s Davis Cup quarter-final against Serbia in Malaga owing to the right calf injury he suffered in the Vienna Open earlier this week.

Evans was named alongside Cameron Norrie, Andy Murray, Jack Draper and Neal Skupski for Great Britain as the final eight nations compete for the 2023 Davis Cup from November 21-26.

However, the British number two has had to pull out after pulling up in the Austrian capital on Tuesday when leading 4-1 in the first set of his opening round encounter against seventh seed Frances Tiafoe.

The 33-year-old, who has been integral to Britain’s run to the last eight after winning important singles and doubles matches, received treatment but was unable to continue.

He said in a statement on his Instagram story: “Unfortunately, as a result of the injury sustained in Vienna, I will not be fit to compete at the Davis Cup finals in a couple of weeks.

“I am extremely disappointed but wish the rest of the GB team all the very best in Malaga.

“I will be working hard with my support team to get back to full fitness as soon as possible.”

Great Britain have been drawn to play Novak Djokovic’s Serbia in the Davis Cup quarter-finals in Malaga.

Britain secured their place in November’s knockout stage by finishing top of qualifying Group B on Sunday night after their thrilling 2-1 win against France.

Defending champions Canada will face Finland, the Czech Republic play Group B runners-up Australia and the Netherlands take on Italy.

The final eight nations will compete for the 2023 Davis Cup in Malaga from November 21-26.

Britain secured their place in this year’s finals after Dan Evans and Neal Skupski saved four match points in their decisive doubles match against French pair Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin at a sold-out AO Arena in Manchester.

Evans and Skupski clinched a 1-6 7-6 (4) 7-6 (6) win in the deciding rubber after earlier 2-1 wins against both Australia and Switzerland.

Britain captain Leon Smith opted to play his highest-ranked duo Cameron Norrie and Evans in the singles against France.

Andy Murray and Jack Draper had featured against Switzerland and Australia respectively, while world number three in the doubles rankings Skupski completed the five-man line-up.

Smith is confident Britain can mount a serious challenge to repeat their success of 2015 when Murray led them to their last Davis Cup win with victory over Belgium in the final.

Great Britain are dreaming of more Davis Cup glory after pulling off a remarkable victory over France to book their spot in the quarter-finals.

Needing victory in their final tie at a sold-out AO Arena in Manchester to reach the knock-out stages, it went all the way to a final-set tie-break in the last rubber, with Dan Evans and Neal Skupski saving four match points against Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin before triumphing 1-6 7-6 (4) 7-6 (6).

When a final French return flew long, Evans and Skupski fell to court before leaping into each others’ arms then celebrating with the rest of the team.

Evans was Britain’s key man across the three ties, winning four rubbers, including two against France having battled from behind to see off teenager Arthur Fils in the opening singles.

“It was nuts,” said the 33-year-old. “The singles is the singles and I feel comfortable on that court but the doubles was chaos. I just kept saying to Neal, ‘We’ve got a chance, we’ve got a chance’. We both kept going. We stuck together.

“It was an amazing day, an amazing feeling. Emotional more than anything. You want to be with these guys in the finals and you know what happens if you lose, it’s not ideal being at home as well. You feel that. It’s an immensely proud moment for me and the team.”

Evans talked after beating Fils about how attending Davis Cup matches as a boy in Birmingham had made him want to play professional tennis and this was his 25th tie across 14 years.

His has been one of the more tumultuous careers in British tennis and last year he annoyed captain Leon Smith and his team-mates by publicly airing his grievances about not being picked in doubles after Britain crashed out in the group stage in Glasgow.

Smith gave the 33-year-old a chance alongside Skupski in February’s play-off in Colombia, where they claimed an important victory, and two wins in decisive rubbers this time have seen him put his money where his mouth is.

Smith remains unhappy with the way Evans made his point, saying: “Am I glad he did it? No I’m not glad he did it and he knows that.

“You can’t get every decision right as captain. What’s important I think is how we came together not just here but when we were in Colombia together.

“I’ve always known Evo and Neal are a good pair. That’s why I think what’s happened this week is really good for us because it was really, really disappointing last year, it hurt a lot.

“Everyone feels it, it comes out in different ways. But for me the most important thing is moving forwards. Me and Evo are great and the team spirit has been brilliant.”

Having a strong doubles team is central to success in the new Davis Cup format, where ties are played over three rubbers rather than five.

Tuesday’s draw will determine who Britain face in the final eight week in Malaga from November 21-26, although they already know it will either be Italy or Novak Djokovic’s Serbia.

Whoever they come up against, Smith will believe that his team, with its improved strength in depth, can have a chance of matching their historic 2015 title run, when Andy and Jamie Murray made it virtually a family affair.

“It’s absolutely brilliant we’re going to Malaga,” said Smith. “We’ve definitely got a chance. We’ve got a really good team.

“We had the benefit at one point of having the best player in the world in our team. Obviously Jamie and Andy doing those things and winning a lot of matches, then the others pitched in and we became really strong.

“We’ve got a chance against anybody. It’s really tight, matches can go either way. Every single tie we’ve had here could have gone either way.”

 

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The only negative was two defeats for British number one Cameron Norrie, whose Davis Cup record now stands at an underwhelming seven wins and seven losses.

Norrie’s lack of recent wins was evident in Sunday’s loss to Ugo Humbert, where he played well for long periods but made errors at key moments, including double-faulting on match point.

Smith is not concerned, though, saying: “He’s amazing. He works his socks off. Every practice this week – bang on it. Every time you watch him, his intensity, his focus, his discipline.

“Some parts will just go like that. But that’s why he’s got top 10, why he’s top 20, because he goes at it every single day. He’ll be fine. He just needs to keep doing what he’s doing.”

Great Britain must win a deciding doubles rubber against France to keep alive their Davis Cup hopes for this season after Cameron Norrie was beaten by Ugo Humbert in Manchester.

Dan Evans fought back from a set and a break down to see off teenage debutant Arthur Fils 3-6 6-3 6-4 to give Britain the lead in front of a 13,000 sell-out crowd at the AO Arena, a single day record for the competition in this country.

An out-of-form Norrie also battled from behind to force a deciding set against Ugo Humbert but was unable to take it, the Frenchman winning 7-6 (5) 3-6 7-5.

It will therefore come down to the final match of the week to decide who joins Australia in qualifying for the final eight event in Malaga in November.

Team selection has been one of the most intriguing aspects of this week and here it was France springing a surprise by turning to 19-year-old Fils ahead of the experienced Adrian Mannarino, against whom Evans has a great record.

Smith opted for his two highest-ranked singles players, overlooking Jack Draper, who made his own impressive debut in beating Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis on Wednesday, and Andy Murray.

Fils is the highest-ranked teenager in the world at 44 and the most exciting of a crop of young French players.

It was immediately clear this was not a comfortable match-up for the 5ft 9in Evans, who struggles to impose his finesse-based game against power hitters, and he was in deep trouble when he was broken for a second successive game at the start of the second set.

Fils had been landing everything but he played a poor game serving at 3-2 to allow Evans back into the contest and from there a combination of the crowd, smart play by the British number two and his opponent’s inexperience turned things around.

Fils managed to stay in touch in the deciding set and Evans had to come through a tense final game, leaping and punching the air before expressing annoyance at his opponent for a very perfunctory handshake.

“He’s a super nice guy,” the 33-year-old said later. “I understand it now.

“Obviously I’m a bit fired up when I was at the net as well. It’s fine, he’s a little younger than me.

“I’ve been in that situation, you just want to get off the court.

“He played very good at the start. A very unorthodox forehand.

“It took me a little while to get into it. It’s been a pretty long week. Maybe I was a tiny bit flat at the start but I got the crowd involved.

“It’s an amazing crowd today. You really helped me get through when I was a set and a break down and not feeling exactly how I wanted to be playing.

“To be playing in front of such a big crowd for the country again, it’s everything to me.”

Evans’ victory gave Norrie the chance to clinch the tie, with Smith keeping faith with his number one despite his disappointing last few months and a loss to Stan Wawrinka on Friday.

Norrie saved a set point to force a tie-break in the first set against his fellow left-hander Humbert but blazed a backhand wide after fighting back from 2-6 to 5-6.

Norrie was not playing badly, though, and he secured the first break of the match to take a 2-0 lead in the second set.

Against Stan Wawrinka on Friday he had wilted from a similar position but here Norrie passed a real test by saving two break points at 4-2 and then another at 5-3 after three set points had come and gone.

It was the sort of gritty tennis that carried Norrie to the top 10 not so long ago, and he clinched his fourth chance to send the match to a deciding set.

Norrie seemed in the ascendancy for much of it but could not force a break and it was he who cracked serving to stay in the match, a double fault handing Humbert  a victory the Frenchman described as one of the best of his life.

Great Britain will have to beat France in Sunday’s Davis Cup clash if they are to qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition.

Australia’s 3-0 success against Switzerland on Sunday sent them through to the final eight week in Malaga in November, and the winner of the final group clash at Manchester’s AO Arena will join them.

Britain have performed excellently so far, beating Australia and Switzerland 2-1, but the nature of the other results means only another win will be enough.

Captain Leon Smith has used all four of his singles players across the two ties so far and now faces a tricky decision about who to field on Sunday.

Jack Draper and Dan Evans both claimed strong wins against Australia while Andy Murray ground out an epic win against young Swiss Leandro Riedi before Cameron Norrie was beaten by Stan Wawrinka.

“Everyone’s played now,” said Smith. “We’ve got a full deck of cards to play with on Sunday. Ultimately we’ll go with what we think’s the best option for Sunday but everyone’s available, everybody’s ready to go.

“You’re not always going to get the decisions right, and there’s not a right answer most of the time. You can look at match-ups as much as you want but there’s other equations in there.

“Genuinely this time round it feels like everyone’s in it together in the right way, everyone’s been totally accepting of any decisions that I’ve made. There’s not been any ill feeling towards it at all.

“There’s always going to be disappointment because these guys are great players, they all want to play.”

Draper and Evans, who will also play in the doubles rubber with Neal Skupski, are perhaps the front runners, although Murray famously has a great record against both French players and left-handers and has won all three of his previous meetings with number two Adrian Mannarino.

A crowd of more than 13,000, a record for a single day of Davis Cup action in the UK, is expected.

Hosts Lebanon secured a 4-0 victory over the travelling Jamaicans in Davis Cup World Group II play on Friday and Saturday.

Play at the Automobile and Touring Club of Lebanon in Jounieh got underway of Friday with Benjamin Hassan taking on Jamaica’s Rowland “Randy” Phillips in singles.

Hassan, Lebanon’s highest ranked ATP singles player at 209, took a tight first set 7-5 before completing a straight-sets win with a 6-3 score-line in the second set.

It was then time for Jamaica’s highest ranked player, Blaise Bicknell, to see if he could level proceedings with a win over Hady Habib.

The pair played out a tight first set, eventually needing a tiebreak at 6-6 with Habib taking it 7 points to five over the Jamaican world number 430.

The second set was far less competitive, with Habib taking it 6-1 to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.

On Saturday, Phillips and Bicknell were first up in doubles taking on Habib and Hassan.

The Lebanese took the first set 6-2 before the Jamaicans rallied to take the second 6-3. Lebanon’s pair then held their nerve to take the decider 6-3 and take a 3-0 lead in the tie.

The fourth match saw Mustapha El Natour secure a dominant 6-3, 6-1 win over Jamaica’s Daniel Azar.

 

An emotional Andy Murray broke down in tears at the end of an epic Davis Cup win over Swiss debutant Leandro Riedi after revealing he was missing his grandmother’s funeral to play in the tie.

Murray needed all his nous to grind out a 6-7 (7) 6-4 6-4 victory in three hours and 10 minutes at Manchester’s AO Arena, giving Great Britain a 1-0 lead over Switzerland.

At the end of what had been a light-hearted on-court interview, the Scot choked up, revealing the added significance of his victory.

“Today is a tough day for me, it’s my gran’s funeral today,” he said. “I’m sorry to my family that I’m not able to be there but gran, this one’s for you.”

Murray then returned to his bench where he sat sobbing into his towel.

It made his efforts in coming through another long and tense battle even more impressive.

Murray had only lost three of his previous 35 singles matches in the competition and never to a player ranked as low as world number 152 Riedi, but the big-hitting 21-year-old produced a performance well above that.

Having seen his gamble to play debutant Jack Draper and Dan Evans handsomely pay off in Wednesday’s victory over Australia, captain Leon Smith made use of his options by naming Murray and Cameron Norrie as his singles players here.

Evans’ 0-5 record against Wawrinka may have played a part in his thinking along perhaps with caution not to overplay Draper considering his physical fragility this year.

Murray played singles against Kazakhstan at the same stage last year but only once Britain were already eliminated, making this his first live singles rubber in the competition since 2019 and only his second in seven years.

Switzerland also sprung a surprise by picking Riedi ahead of their number two Dominic Stricker, and Murray admitted that had thrown him having prepared to face a left-hander.

After negotiating an 11-minute first game, the Scot broke serve immediately and had a chance to open up a 4-0 lead.

He could not take it, though, and Riedi worked his way into the contest, beginning to cause Murray increasing problems with his big forehand and aggressive tactics.

They earned him a break back when the Scot served for the set at 5-3, and Murray was then unable to take two set points in the tie-break, Riedi converting his first opportunity with his 22nd winner.

The young Swiss, who had never previously beaten a top-50 player, had his tail up and Murray kicked his bag in frustration after failing to break in the third game of the second set.

He finally made the breakthrough at 3-3 when Riedi double-faulted, only for the 21-year-old to leave his opponent rooted to the spot with a series of blistering returns.

Undeterred, Murray engineered another break and this time held onto it with trademark grim determination to level the match.

The 36-year-old has been in similar situations hundreds of times during his career and ultimately experience won out, although it was still nip and tuck, with Murray slamming his racket to the court after handing an early break back in the decider.

He broke again to lead 3-2, though, and quashed Riedi’s hopes of a comeback by taking his first match point with an ace.

Murray said: “It’s obviously incredible to get through that one, it easily could have gone the other way.

“It was ridiculous the shots he was pulling off, amazing, amazing returning. I kept fighting and tried to stay focused and managed to turn it round.”

Leon Smith is expecting a highly motivated Switzerland on the other side of the net as Great Britain try to maintain their Davis Cup momentum in Manchester on Friday.

Britain began their campaign at a packed AO Arena on Wednesday with a 2-1 upset victory over last year’s runners-up Australia.

That gave them a great chance of righting the wrongs of last year, when they were eliminated after only two matches of the group stage in Glasgow, and progressing to finals week in Malaga in November but there is still a lot of work to do.

Switzerland, led by three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka, are already in the last-chance saloon having lost 3-0 to France in their opener on Tuesday.

“This is just the start, that’s what we talked about,” said captain Smith after watching debutant Jack Draper and Dan Evans pull off impressive wins against Thanasi Kokkinakis and Alex De Minaur, respectively.

“We’ve got a massive match on Friday against Switzerland, who obviously lost 3-0 so they’re going to have to come out and do something.

“They’re going to have high motivation and they’ll be playing with a crowd this time, which obviously Stan wasn’t happy with the other day.”

Wawrinka took to social media to voice his dissatisfaction with the small turnout for their meeting against France but a similar crowd to Wednesday’s 9,290 is expected on Friday.

Given their performances against Australia, Evans and Draper are the front-runners to keep their singles spots ahead of top-ranked Cameron Norrie and Andy Murray, but Smith may yet spring another surprise.

Evans had a strong record against De Minaur but has lost all five meetings with Wawrinka, while Swiss number two Dominic Stricker beat fellow 21-year-old Draper at last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals in their only previous match.

Smith welcomes the dilemma, though, adding: “People keep saying you’ve got really difficult selections – well, I’d rather that way to what it was many moons ago.

“I think it’s great, I think it’s testament to all the guys that everyone’s playing at the top of their game.

“We’ve got to weigh everything up because people have played a lot of tennis as well, potentially look at match-ups, but we discuss it as a group and ultimately we’ll make a call on it.”

Draper has managed only 10 tournaments this season because of a succession of injuries, the latest of which to his left shoulder saw him retire at the French Open and then miss Wimbledon, dropping him out of the top 100.

But time on the sidelines has not affected the Londoner’s ability to look like a top-10 player in the making and a run to the fourth-round of the US Open was his best yet at a grand slam.

“It’s been an incredibly challenging year for me,” he said. “I started the year at 38 in the world, everything was going great, and then just got hit by a load of injuries really. Maybe a few mistakes that I’ll learn from and stuff I could have done better.

“The one before Wimbledon was a real blow, I couldn’t play for a month or two, I spent loads of time in a bit of a rut trying to get out of it.

“I worked really hard to get myself back, I knew my time would come again because my tennis has always been there.

“New York was a massive boost for me, I needed it. Then coming here I’ve been really confident.

“It’s all coming together so hopefully I can just keep on going to the end of the season and finish really strong.”

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