Davis Cup

Tennis Preview: GB underdogs For Davis Cup Tie

2017-04-06
Preview of this weekend’s Davis Cup quarter-finals.

Great Britain are 14/5 underdogs as they prepare to face France in their Davis Cup quarter-final without Andy Murray.

Britain defeated France at the same stage on their way to the title two years ago but this time are missing world number one Murray, who is recovering from an elbow injury.

France are significantly weakened too, though, by the absence of Gael Monfils through injury, Richard Gasquet following an appendix operation and new father Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Their leading doubles team of Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, meanwhile, has been broken up by injury to the latter.

Kyle Edmund will play Lucas Pouille in the opening match in Rouen on Friday before Dan Evans takes on surprise French choice Jeremy Chardy in the second singles match.

Saturday's doubles will see Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot face Mahut and Julien Benneteau before the reverse singleson Sunday.

France are 1/4 favourites to progress and this time have the home advantage of Rouen's indoor clay rather than the grass of Queen's Club on which they played in 2015.

If Great Britain are to win, much will depend on Edmund, the number two player for this tie but much more accomplished on clay than the marginally higher-ranked Evans.

Edmund showed his class last summer with Murray again on the sidelines when he won both his singles rubbers to earn victory over Serbia on the same surface in Belgrade.

That was the last time he played on the red stuff and a repeat this weekend would give Britain a great chance of a third semi-final in succession.

The main problem for Britain and captain Leon Smith is the clay-court weakness of Evans, who has not so much as played a match on the surface for nearly two years.

Almost all of his previous experience has been on the Futures Tour, the lowest level of professional tennis, and he has made no secret of his dislike for clay.

In the other quarter-finals, Belgium (3/10) host Italy, Australia (5/4) take on USA (5/8) in Brisbane while Serbia (1/7) – with Novak Djokovic in the team – are expected to see off Spain (17/4) in Belgrade.