Great Britain take on France for spot in Davis Cup semi-finals
Captain Leon Smith hoping for inspirational performance in Rouen
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 09/04/17 5:12pm
Great Britain will be out to cause an upset when they face France in this weekend's crunch Davis Cup quarter-final without Andy Murray in their ranks.
The European rivals meet on an indoor clay court at Rouen with 2015 champions Britain hampered by the loss of their talisman, Murray, who is out with an elbow injury.
France v GB
|Opening match||Lucas Pouille v Kyle Edmund|
|Second singles match||Jeremy Chardy v Dan Evans|
|Saturday's doubles||Nicolas Mahut and Julien Benneteau v Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot|
World No 44 Dan Evans will be trying to fill his sizeable shoes, despite not having played on clay for three years, along with Kyle Edmund, Jamie Murray - Andy's older brother and a doubles specialist - and Dom Inglot at the Kindarena indoor clay courts.
Meanwhile, 17-ranked Lucas Pouille shoulders French hopes, despite only three Davis Cup rubbers behind him.
Their self-styled 'Three Musketeers' Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils are not in contention, while Richard Gasquet is recovering from an appendix operation.
Nine-time winners France have gambled by handing the second singles spot to veteran Jeremy Chardy, despite the world No 68 not having played in the tournament for six years.
"It wasn't an easy choice but I think it was the better solution," said France captain Yannick Noah.
Their leading doubles team of Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, meanwhile, has been broken up by injury to the latter.
Edmund will play Pouille in the opening match before Evans takes on surprise French choice Chardy in the second singles match.
Saturday's doubles will see Jamie Murray and Inglot face Mahut and Julien Benneteau before the reverse singles on Sunday.
For Britain, Evans has broken into the world's top 50 this year on the back of a first ATP Tour final in Sydney and a run to the fourth round of the Australian Open, while Edmund has had some of his best results on clay, not least in the Davis Cup quarter-finals last year, when he won both his rubbers against Serbia in Belgrade.
Smith said of his team's chances: "They should be favourites as the home team. We're obviously going to have to perform very well over the weekend away from home on their chosen surface, in front of their home fans.
"They've got amazing strength and depth but anything is possibly really. It's not like we're having to make up huge ranking deficits. They're missing a few players, we're missing our number one player as well.
"I think it is going to be very competitive but obviously we're going to have to perform very well to get through."
In other ties, Novak Djokovic pulls on his Serbia shirt for this weekend's Davis Cup quarter-final against Spain in Belgrade while Nick Kyrgios will be leading Australia's charge when Lleyton Hewitt's side host USA in a clash of the heavyweights.
Belgium, the only won of the quarter-finalists never to have lifted the trophy, will have their top player David Goffin back for the home clash with Italy in Charleroi.
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