18 Sep 2023, 11:51

Britain book Davis Cup finals berth with tie-break win over France

PARIS, Sept 18, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - British doubles pair Dan Evans and Neal
Skupski edged a white-knuckle duel with France to clinch one of the eight
Davis Cup finals berths on Sunday.

The British duo came back from a set down to beat French pair Nicolas Mahut
and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (8-6) in front of 13,000 fans
in Manchester as nerves faltered on both sides of the net.

In a contest of almost three hours, France came close to sealing their
passage and will look back at four failed match points and a series of
unforced errors.

Skupski, who won the Wimbledon men's doubles with Dutchman Wesley Koolhof
this year, said: "I don't know how we've won that fight, (just with) sheer
fight. "Incredible effort from Dan to come out and win this match with me.

"First set it wasn't too good. We regrouped, took a toilet (break) and fought
as hard as we could. The rest is history and we're off to Malaga."

Britain join Italy, Serbia, Canada, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Finland and
Australia in the finals in Malaga in November.

In the opening rubber, Evans fought back from a set down to see off French
teenager Arthur Fils 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 and take a 1-0 lead for Britain.

But Cameron Norrie was beaten by Ugo Humbert, leaving the contest level with
everything depending on a tense decider in the doubles rubber.

Earlier, Italy became the seventh team to qualify for the final eight with
singles wins from Matteo Arnaldi and Lorenzo Sonego giving them an
unassailable 2-0 lead against Sweden in Bologna.

Arnaldi, 22, who reached the fourth round at the US Open, saw off Sweden's
Leo Borg 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 22 minutes.

Sonego then overcame Elias Ymer 6-4, 6-4 to move Italy 2-0 ahead.

Victory means the Italians, who only needed to win one of their ties to
advance ahead of Chile, progress alongside group winners and defending
champions Canada.

Italy have now advanced to the Davis Cup quarter-finals five times since

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