Davis Cup, France v Great Britain: Kyle Edmund & Dan Evans lose singles matches

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Five best shots as Edmund loses to Pouille
Davis Cup - France v Great Britain
Watch live coverage of Saturday's doubles from 13:10 BST on BBC One, with extra coverage on BBC Red Button and online, connected TVs, the BBC Sport website and app (full coverage details)

Great Britain's Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans lost their singles matches on the first day of the Davis Cup quarter-final against France in Rouen.

Edmund was beaten 7-5 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 by world number 17 Lucas Pouille.

Evans, ranked three places above Edmund at 44, also lost in three sets - 6-2 6-3 6-3 to world number 68 Jeremy Chardy.

Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot will play Nicolas Mahut and Julien Benneteau in Saturday's doubles, before the reverse singles on Sunday.

Britain, without injured world number one Andy Murray, failed to win a set on the opening day of a Davis Cup tie for the first time since 2008 against Argentina.

In front of a raucous crowd, Edmund battled hard for the first two sets against Pouille, the highest-ranked player in the tie.

And the Briton had a good opportunity to level the scores when he was 5-2 up in the second-set tie-break - but could not take advantage as the Frenchman's backhand proved too strong.

"It was competitive. It's obviously annoying - you want to be taking one of them (set points)," Edmund, 22, told BBC Sport.

"It just felt like I came off the match and said: 'You gave it your best effort, it just wasn't good enough today.'

"There were some points I could have made better choices and better execution, but when it counted I just didn't get it done."

Great Britain captain Leon Smith said: "We probably needed the win from Kyle to get us started this weekend - and we will now have to do it the extremely difficult way."

The visitors must now win the remaining three ties to progress to the semi-finals - where they would face Serbia or Spain in September.

"There's no hiding. We need more players, and we need different sorts of players that we can call in if Andy's not playing," Smith added.

"If Kyle can't play because he has an injury - if that happened this week, we were going to have to pull in someone ranked about 240 in the world.

"So, as much as there's lots of good things happening, there's still that conversation about strength in depth."

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GB in trouble as Chardy eases past Evans

Evans' dislike for clay continues

With Great Britain already 1-0 down, 26-year-old Evans - whose record on clay was a talking point in the build-up to tie - was tasked with turning things around.

However, he was completely outplayed by late call-up Chardy, who only replaced Giles Simon in the France team on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old had made just three previous Davis Cup appearances, and none for six years - but Evans' lack of match practice on the clay, having not played on the surface for two years, told.

The Briton's forehand, so dominant on the hard court, was completely nullified as he struggled to adjust to the bounce of the ball on the unfamiliar surface.

"Dan fights with everything he's got," said Smith. "He loves playing for his country, but he needs more time on the clay. Jeremy Chardy was too good for him today."

"I was really happy. For me it's an amazing moment. Last year was really difficult so I'm just enjoying it," said Chardy.

"It was a surprise for me to come into the team but I was practising really well.

"This tie is not over. The doubles will be a difficult match and we will stay focused for Sunday just in case."

Kyle Edmund
Kyle Edmund had previously won two of his three Davis Cup rubbers played on clay

Analysis

Russell Fuller, BBC tennis correspondent

An unlikely, but not implausible, route to the semi-finals hinged on Kyle Edmund winning the opening singles against Lucas Pouille.

He had opportunities in both of the first two sets and should have levelled the match by closing out the second set tie-break from 5-2 up - but Pouille simply played better when the chips were down.

Dan Evans was playing only his third tour level match on clay, and it showed as he was outclassed by Jeremy Chardy.

Even if Britain can win Saturday's doubles, back-to-back victories in Sunday's singles seem very far fetched indeed.

John Lloyd, former GB Davis Cup captain

It was a masterclass from Jeremy Chardy.

Evans is used to the faster courts where he has the pace. Here on clay, his shots just sit up and Chardy had plenty of time.

Chardy's level never dropped at all from the moment he came out on the court. He was aggressive and there was no lapse in concentration. I thought he played a tremendous match.

It was a brave decision by [France captain] Yannick Noah. He knew something about Chardy - he liked his attitude, his confidence, his game.

It was difficult to see how Dan could hurt him, even if they'd been out there all day.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic pulled out of the Miami Open with an elbow injury but made a winning return to action

Djokovic makes winning return

In Belgrade, world number two Novak Djokovic helped Serbia to a 2-0 lead in their last-eight tie against Spain.

Djokovic, who missed the Miami Masters because of an elbow injury, beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3 6-4 6-2.

Five-time winners Spain are without Rafael Nadal for the tie after the 14-time Grand Slam champion opted to prepare for the clay court season.

Serbia's Viktor Troicki then saw off Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3 6-4 6-3 as the teams head into Saturday's doubles.

Elsewhere, Australia lead USA 2-0 in their quarter-final in Brisbane.

Jordan Thompson, ranked 79 in the world, pulled off a huge shock beating world number 15 Jack Sock 6-3 3-6 7-6 6-4.

Nick Kyrgios then gave Australia a 2-0 lead with a 7-5 7-6 7-6 victory over John Isner.

And in Charleroi, Belgium lead Italy 2-0 following Steve Darcis' 6-7 6-1 6-1 7-6 victory over Paolo Lorenzi and David Goffin's victory in straight sets over Andreas Seppi.

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