Great Britain scores dramatic victory over France to reach Davis Cup elite eight

Dan Evans and Neal Skupski saved four match points as they rallied past Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin for a dramatic Davis Cup victory in Manchester.

Dan Evans 2023 Davis Cup | News Images / Panoramic News Images / Panoramic

You can change the format, but you can’t remove the drama – Davis Cup was alive and kicking in Manchester, England on Sunday as Great Britain delivered a dramatic victory to 13,000 fans at the AO Arena to send the nation to the elite eight.

In the 24th all-time meeting between the two storied tennis nations, it was Dan Evans and Neal Skupski who had the last say as they saved four match points to knock off Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 1-6 7-6(4), 7-6(6).

“I don’t know how we won that match,” Skupski told the crowd after the conclusion of a tense day that featured three-setters in both singles rubbers as well. “Just sheer fight.”

Evans was a key contributor for Great Britain. He rallied from a set down to defeat 19-year-old Arthur Fils, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, then played a key role in the doubles to send Great Britain to the Davis Cup quarter-finals for the seventh time since 2014.

France and Great Britain are joint-third on the all-time Davis Cup title list with ten, but the French, who got a stellar performance from Ugo Humbert in the second rubber (7-6(5), 3-6, 7-5 over Cameron Norrie) were eliminated without reaching the quarter-finals for the first time since 2018.

It was a jubilant celebration for Team Great Britain, with Andy Murray, Jack Draper and captain Leon Smith all feeling the emotions.

“Thanks to every single one of you,” an elated Evans told the crowd. “At a set down, a few guys from the bench said ‘go get the crowd involved’ and it sort of turned into pandemonium for me. Some embarrassing stuff most likely out there, but we’re going to Malaga, so it doesn’t matter!”

The elite eight is set for Malaga

Great Britain was the final team to ensure qualification for this November’s knock-out stage of the Davis Cup Finals, which takes place from November 21-26.

They are joined by Canada, Italy, Australia, Czech Republic, Serbia, Finland and the Netherlands.

Italy needed just one victory to make it through on Sunday, and they took care of business by handing Sweden a 2-1 loss. 22-year-old Matteo Arnaldi scored the victory that sent Italy through (6-4, 6-3, over Leo Borg), and Lorenzo Sonego followed suit with another singles win, over Elias Ymer.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Spain defeated South Korea in a dead rubber, 2-1, while Croatia got past Netherlands, who had already qualified in Group D, 2-1.

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