Britain see off France in Davis Cup, Kazakhs close on quarters
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Britain opened their Davis Cup Finals campaign with a 2-1 victory over 10-time winners France in Innsbruck on Saturday, while Kazakhstan fought back to beat Sweden and edge towards the quarter-finals.
British number one Cameron Norrie completed success against France in the second singles rubber, beating Arthur Rinderknech 6-2, 7-6 (10/8).
Norrie, ranked 12 in the world, trailed 4-1 in the tie-break before rebounding to secure a match point at 6-5.
The 71st-ranked Rinderknech saved it but then let two set points slip before Norrie took the rubber on his second match point.
The matches in Austria are being played behind closed doors due to new coronavirus restrictions in the country.
"For me, it's unbelievable to be back on the team playing for my country," said Norrie, who was playing just his third Davis Cup tie.
"I really like being in a team and being in this atmosphere. I've really enjoyed the week so far with everyone.
"It is also nice to prove myself again, to keep the pressure on and keep playing big matches."
Rinderknech had little time to absorb his defeat as he had to partner veteran Nicolas Mahut in the doubles -- the latter's usual partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert withdrawing at the last minute.
He helped Mahut keep their slim hopes alive of securing one of the two best runner-up spots available for the quarter-finals by outclassing Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski 6-1, 6-4.
Dan Evans had earlier given Britain a great start by beating Adrian Mannarino 7-5, 6-4.
Kazakhs claim opening win
Kazakhstan could be surprise quarter-finalists, if they beat a much-weakened Canada team on Sunday, after pulling off a 2-1 win over Sweden.
The Swedish singles duo of brothers Elias and Mikael Ymer looked on course to win their second successive match after disposing of Canada 3-0 in the opener.
Elias eased past Mikhail Kukushkin in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).
Younger brother Mikael was looking well poised at a set up and 4-4 in the second against the talented but unpredictable Alexander Bublik.
The world number 36, though, roused himself and produced some stunning tennis to reel off the next six games and take the rubber.
The Kazakhs completed their come-from-behind victory as Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov breezed past Andre Goransson and Robert Lindstedt 6-3, 6-3.
Australia are all but out of the competition despite a battling 2-1 win against Hungary.
The 28-time champions, who were defeated 3-0 in their opening tie to Croatia, lost a fourth straight rubber as Hungarian youngster Zsombor Piros beat John Millman in straight sets.
Alex de Minaur saw off Marton Fucsovics in straight sets before Alex Bolt and John Peers edged out Piros and Fabian Marozsan 6-3, 6-7 (11/13), 6-3 in the deciding doubles.
But Australia are unable to finish top of Group D and very unlikely to progress as one of the two best runners-up.