Davis Cup in Manchester: Great Britain yet to secure place in knockout stage after Cameron Norrie loses to France’s Ugo Humbert

Following Cameron Norrie’s second successive loss in this year’s competition, Great Britain’s qualification hopes for the Davis Cup knockout stage lie with Dan Evans and Neal Skupski in this evening’s doubles match at the AO Arena.

Tensions were high heading into today’s Davis Cup group-stage fixture between Great Britain and France, with both sides needing a win to progress to the next stage of the competition in Malaga.

Lleyton Hewitt’s Australia secured their place in the knockout stages with yesterday’s 3-0 win over Switzerland – but with 1 qualification spot remaining for Britain and France, who came into today with identical records, it was all to play for.

First to step up to the occasion was Dan Evans, who after losing a gruelling first set, came back to win the match two sets to one.

Evans’s opponent, Arthur Fils, started the match confidently, winning the first set 3-6. Fils then went on to lead the second set 3-1 before the physicality of the match appeared to catch up with him, letting the Brit fight his way back into the match and take the set 6-3.

Despite suffering a break in the first game, Fils seemed to gather himself ahead of the final set but Evans, backed by the record-breaking crowd of 13,000 supporting the Brit, proved too much and Evans won the final set 6-4, securing the first win of the fixture for Team GB.

Daniel Evans celebrates after winning the second set against Arthur Fils of France. © Photo by Matt McNulty/Getty Images for ITF.

Following his teammate’s impressive victory, all eyes turned to Cameron Norrie, Britain’s highest-ranked player (17), as a win over Ugo Humbert would seal his team’s qualification for the knockout round.

The match was a cagey affair, with both players holding their service games all the way through the first set, leading the pair to a tiebreak which saw the Frenchman win 7-5.

However, the Brit was not deterred, as he won an early break in the second game which proved crucial as he went on to win the set 6-3. Much like the first, the second set was a battle of attrition with many games going to a deuce but Norrie’s determination saw him through to a third set which would decide the match.

Unfortunately for the Brit, the final set was almost identical to the first, with both players holding their service games up until the decisive 13th game. Norrie, who was serving to take the match to a tiebreak, seemed to crumble under the pressure as he double-faulted whilst the scoreline was 15-40 to Humbert, handing the Frenchman the match and his country the lifeline they needed.

This means that this evening’s doubles match, between Dan Evans/Neal Skupski and Nicolas Mahut/Edouard Roger-Vasselin, will decide which country will progress to the knockout stages in Malaga.

If you want to keep up to date with the final, all-important match of the fixture then you can check out our live blog where we will post regular updates throughout the crucial match.

Feature Image: © Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images for ITF

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