Pouille opens against Edmund in Davis Cup quarterfinals

The victor of the tie will play Great Britain or France in the semi-finals in September.

Victory gave 40-year-old playing-captain Zimonjic, who has not missed a Davis Cup tie for a decade, a 30th win in the tournament.

Dan Evans takes on Jeremy Chardy, who replaced Gilles Simon on Wednesday, in the second singles match.

France has not won the competition since 2001, and lost the final to Serbia in 2010 and Switzerland in 2014.

The top-ranked Murray was Britain's leader when the country won the trophy two years ago, but the three-time Grand Slam champion is nursing an elbow injury. Over the last few days, I saw that he wanted to be here, that he was ready to play. "We've got four in the top 100 and then that's it".

The second set looked as though it would go to Edmund.

The clay surface made things even tougher for Britain but Murray and Inglot, playing together for the fourth time, were the stronger pair for much of the match and were left to rue costly errors at important moments.

A weakened France team is missing 10th-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 11 Gael Monfils, leaving the 17th-ranked Lucas Pouille as leading player.

However they went down 7-6 5-7 7-5 7-5 to Nicolas Mahut and Julien Benneteau in a tight match on day two in Rouen.

Nearly 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.

"There's a lot of expectation on the French team, they're favourites for this tie, they'll have the home fans". He was straight away 2-0 down, and came under pressure on each subsequent service game.

"They've got unbelievable strength and depth but anything is possibly really".

The ITF are also looking to make off-court commitments at ties less onerous, while discussions with the ATP over the reintroduction of ranking points are under way. We respect them. We believe we are going to have a very close tie.

There have been a few eyebrows raised at the absence of French number one Tsonga, whose son was born almost two weeks ago.

On the evidence of the first day of this tie, the same could be said of Britain by comparison with France. Am I surprised? I don't know. Coming to play on clay takes some time to adapt and he did it very well.

Playing on clay, uncomfortable for so numerous visiting country's players, also meant this would not be a definitive tie in the form and fortunes of Smith's side.

  • Julie Sanders