Paris - Andy Murray hailed unheralded British compatriot
Cameron Norrie as "amazing" on Friday as Davis Cup underdogs
delivered a series of body blows to the established powers of men's tennis.
Murray was the architect of Britain's Davis Cup title
triumph in 2015 but injury ruled him out of the trip to Marbella to face Spain,
playing in their clay court comfort zone.
But world 114 Norrie, making his debut in the competition,
stunned Spain's 23rd-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to
pull Britain level at 1-1 in the World Group tie after world number 21 Albert
Ramos-Vinolas had seen off Liam Broady 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (8/6).
"That's one of the most amazing wins/results/upsets
I've seen in a long time on a tennis court.. Well done to cam norrie and all
the team.. Broady was excellent," tweeted Murray, recovering at home from
Spain, the five-time Davis Cup winners, were expected to
cruise through the tie even without injured world number one Rafael Nadal.
But 22-year-old Corrie, who had never before competed on
European red clay, was undaunted by facing a player who had not lost a Davis
Cup match since 2014.
"It is 100 per cent the best day of my career,"
said Corrie. "I backed myself physically and mentally against the guy. I
wanted to work him as hard as I could."
Spain's Davis Cup skipper, Sergi Bruguera, in charge for the
first time, hailed Corrie.
"He played unbelievable," the former two-time
French Open champion told daviscup.com.
Defending champions France were also level with the
Netherlands in Albertville, but only after a shock in the first rubber when
world number 369 Thiemo de Bakker downed the 25h-ranked Adrian Mannarino 7-6
(7/4), 6-3, 6-3.
Mannarino was a late call-up after first choices Jo-Wilfried
Tsonga and Lucas Pouille pulled out injured.
"I don't fear the French. I have beaten them before and
I knew that I had the weapons to defeat them again," said De Bakker.
Fortunately for France, the experienced Richard Gasquet
levelled the tie by seeing off Robin Haase 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 7-5 despite
suffering from blisters.
In Brisbane, Australia and Germany were also 1-1 but world
number five Alexander Zverev survived a huge scare before seeing off the
139th-ranked Alex de Minaur 7-5, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).
Nick Kyrgios pulled the hosts level seeing off Jan-Lennard
Struff 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on the back of 21 aces.
Croatia, missing Australian Open runner-up and world number
three Marin Cilic, are 1-1 at home to Canada in Osijek.
Borna Coric claimed a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 victory over
85th-ranked Vasek Pospisil before fellow 'NextGen' star Dennis Shapovalov,
ranked 48 eased to a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over Viktor Galovic, the world 181.
For 18-year-old Shapovalov, it was a less dramatic first
round tie compared to 12 months ago when he was defaulted for accidentally
hitting the chair umpire with a ball in the home tie against Britain.
Japan, without talisman Kei Nishikori, are 1-1 with Italy in
Fabio Fognini, the world 22, saw off 100-ranked Taro Daniel
6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 before Yuichi Sugita levelled by beating Andreas Seppi
4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7/1).
Elsewhere Friday, Belgium, the 2017 runners-up, opened a 2-0
lead over Hungary who are bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the first
In Astana, Kazakhstan are also 2-0 to the good against 2014
champions Switzerland who are without Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka.
Record 32-time champions the United States were 2-0 up on
Serbia, playing without the injured Novak Djokovic, in Nis after Sam Querrey,
ranked at 12, battled past world number 88 Laslo Djere (6/7 (4/7), 6-2, 7-5,
John Isner made it 2-0 by seeing off Dusan Lajovic 4-6, 7-6
(9/7), 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).