Dan Evans leads Great Britain to dramatic Davis Cup win over France and into the last 16

Evans recovered from a set and a breakdown to defeat teenage debutant Arthur Fils, then, after Cameron Norrie lost a close battle to Ugo Humbert, he teamed with Neal Skupski for a 1-6 7 -6 (4) 7- extremely tense. 6 (6) victory against Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

The two Britons saved four match points in the deciding set before winning their second match point in the tie-break, triggering scenes of immense jubilation.

The 2-1 victory earned Great Britain top spot in their group and booked their place for the final eight weeks of November in Malaga, where a quarter-final against Italy or Novak’s Serbia awaits Djokovic.

A sellout crowd of 13,000 at the AO Arena, a single-day record for the competition in Britain, also played its part as Leon Smith’s side completed an unbeaten week following earlier successes against Australia and Switzerland.

“About 6-1 in the first set, I thought he picked the wrong team,” Evans said. “Thank you to each and every one of you. This has turned into chaos.

“There are probably some embarrassing things, but we’re going to Malaga so it doesn’t matter.”

“It was crazy,” Smith said. “I don’t know what I just went through for nine hours.”

From the start there was no choice between the teams, with Evans digging deep to claim a 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory over 19-year-old Son.

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

It was immediately clear that this was not a comfortable match for Evans, who struggles to impose his finesse-based game against power hitters, and he was in big trouble when he was broken for a second match consecutive to the start of the season. the second set.

Son played a poor serving game at 3-2 to allow Evans back into the contest and from there it was a combination of the crowd, the British number two’s intelligent play and his opponent’s inexperience. gives it.

Evans had to go through a tense final match, jumping and punching the air before expressing his displeasure with his opponent for a very perfunctory handshake.

Evans’ victory gave Norrie the chance to clinch the tie, with Smith remaining confident in his number one despite his disappointing recent months and defeat to Stan Wawrinka on Friday.

Norrie saved a set point to force a tiebreak in the first set against fellow southpaw Humbert, but fired a backhand wide after fighting back from 2-6 to 5-6 down.

Norrie, ranked 19 places higher at 17th in the world, turned the tables with some fierce play in the second set and for much of the decider he looked like the better player, but he double faulted to hand over a 7 -6 (5) 3-6. 7-5 victory for his delighted opponent.

Evans had spoken about the influence watching Davis Cup matches in Birmingham had on him as a child, saying: “For me that was the ultimate goal, to play the Davis Cup for his country, and that’s still the case.”

Now it was his chance to win the crucial point as he returned to the field alongside Skupski.

Roger-Vasselin and Mahut have a combined 80 years but also a wealth of experience at the top of doubles and took charge from the start.

Evans and Skupski entered the contest from the second set and urged the crowd to increase the noise level, but they were unable to apply any real pressure on their opponents’ serve.

They had a superb tie-break, however, finding their rhythm on the return and ensuring the tie would continue into the final set.

Both Britons were now extremely excited and there was more tension between Evans and Son, sitting courtside, in the early stages of the decider as the hosts pushed for a break.

It all appeared everywhere when a double fault saw Evans trail 0-40 in the 10th game, but he held on to save all three match points, and Skupski sent in an ace to save a fourth two games later.

They were also down 4-2 in the deciding tie-break, but their fightback was not over.

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