In a thrilling showdown that had fans at the edge of their seats, Great Britain clinched a spot in the Davis Cup Finals' quarterfinals, following a gripping victory over France. The nail-biting climax of the decider witnessed Dan Evans and Neal Skupski overturning four match points in Manchester's AO Arena, a venue that housed a record 13,000 fervent British fans.
Representing Britain, the formidable duo of Evans and Skupski faced off against France's Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, clinching victory with scores of 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), and 7-6 (8-6). Earlier, while Evans rallied from behind to secure a win in the singles, Cameron Norrie couldn't sail through, setting the stage for the electrifying doubles decider.
Britain's captain, Leon Smith, was left almost speechless, exclaiming, "It was bonkers. I don't know what we've all sat through for nine hours."
Britain Advances to Final Eight
This victory propels Great Britain into the Final Eight of the Davis Cup, set to take place in Malaga, Spain this November.
The round-robin event in Manchester featured four nations - Britain, Australia, France, and Switzerland. Britain, with their recent victory, emerged as Group B victors and are now awaiting the draw results to determine whether they'll face Serbia or Italy.
Despite the high stakes, Australia progressed as runners-up, while Spain, the host country, and the United States, a 32-time champion, faced shock exits from the competition. The line-up for the next round will also see defending champions Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, and the Netherlands.
The dramatic tie between Britain and France was loaded with tension. Even as Evans and Skupski trailed their French opponents, they showcased resilience and tenacity. The turning point came during the tie-break when the British duo ramped up their game.
An emotionally charged Skupski, the world's third-ranked doubles player and Wimbledon champion of the year, stated, "There was no panic... I knew if we got through that game somehow the momentum was going to swing our way." When the duo finally clinched victory, the emotions overflowed; Skupski went down on his knees, roaring in elation, while Evans was rendered almost incredulous.
Their celebration was joined by team-mates, with Andy Murray, donning a union jack bucket hat, rushing in with sheer jubilation. Summing up the match, Evans expressed, "The doubles was chaos... It's emotional. It's an immensely proud moment for me and the team." He emphasized the importance of the Davis Cup, recalling its influence on his early interest in tennis and how the competition still holds unparalleled significance for him.