Evans beats Frenchman Benneteau to salvage pride for Britain

France, who haven't won the Davis Cup in 16 years, asserted their dominance immediately on Saturday when Mahut and Benneteau snatched the opening set on a tie-break.

This exit from the competition came courtesy of a comprehensive defeat, Leon Smith's team going down 3-0 Saturday after France's Nicolas Mahut and Julien Benneteau won 7-6 (7), 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 against Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot.

epa05895260 Lucas Pouille of France celebrates winning against Kyle Edmund of Britain during their Singles match for the Tennis Davis Cup World Group quarter final between France and Britain in Rouen, France, 07 April 2017.

Things then took a farcical turn in the second set, as Benneteau called Mahut onto the court with Evans leading 3-0 for a spot of two vs one "Canadian doubles".

Jeremy Chardy faces Dan Evans, playing on clay for the first time in three years, in the second singles rubber later Friday.

France now move through to a semi-final in September against either Serbia or Spain. Great Britain have played in every edition since its inauguration in 1900 and won it 10 times; France joined in 1904 and have been champions nine times.

That ranked the Frenchman 30 places higher than Edmund, though the Briton had scored clay wins in Davis Cup against Serbia at this stage past year.

Chardy dropped his serve once and broke Edmund three times.

Murray and Inglot recovered to level the match at 1-1 and earn Great Britain their first - and only - set of the weekend. "There were some points I could have made better choices and better execution but when it counted I just didn't get it done".

"I am satisfied with my game, especially with the serve", said Djokovic, who led Serbia to their only Davis Cup title in 2010. And despite not playing in Davis Cup for six years, he was clearly in form in Rouen, getting the late nod over the higher-ranked Gilles Simon to play this tie. A venomous Mahut return brought up the first match point which was saved by a tentative trade of shots at the net.

It was the fifth time that France were the semi-finalists during the past eight years. They are scheduled to face experienced duo Nicolas Mahut and Julien Benneteau, with Pierre-Hugues Herbert now out injured.

"We have got a few extra weeks on the clay, I come into Monte-Carlo with a few more matches under my belt so it has been fun".

  • Leroy Wright