On the first night of the Davis Cup, Sweden and France are on fire, but Australia falters.
As the redesigned Davis Cup began on Thursday, brothers Elias and Mikael Ymer helped Sweden defeat Canada, France rallied back to defeat the Czech Republic, and Croatia demolished Australia.
Spain’s title defense was dealt a setback before they even strike a ball in anger, with Carlos Alcaraz in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19.
After PCR testing, the rest of the Spanish team, which is without Rafael Nadal, was given the green light to play Ecuador in Madrid on Friday.
Sweden dominated the Canadian 2019 finalists in the Spanish capital, despite the absence of their top two players Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov.
Elias Ymer, 25, opened the show by defeating Steven Diez 6-4, 6-2, followed by his two-year younger brother Mikael’s 6-4, 6-4 victory over Vasek Pospisil.
“My forehand was blazing today,” Elias added. “Everywhere I went, I was hitting wins!” The Swedes now need a win over Kazakhstan on Saturday to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2011. Robert Lindstedt and Andre Goransson combined for a 7-6, 6-4 doubles win over Pospisil and Brayden Schnur, leaving the Swedes needing a win over Kazakhstan on Saturday to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2011.
France got off to a shaky start in Innsbruck, where an increase in coronavirus infections and the subsequent lockdown in Austria meant that matches were once again played in an empty arena, with 35-year-old veteran Richard Gasquet losing 7-6, 6-2 to Tomas Machac.
“Experiential learning isn’t everything. Form is everything, and I wasn’t up to par today “Gasquet remarked.
However, France responded with Adrian Mannarino defeating Jiri Vesely 6-7 (1/7), 6-4, 6-2.
Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert completed the comeback by defeating Jiri Lehecka and Machac in three sets.
Group C is completed by the United Kingdom.
After losing 3-0 to Croatia in Turin, Australia, the 28-time Davis Cup champion, had work to do.
Marin Cilic defeated Alex de Minaur 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 after Borna Gojo defeated Alexei Popyrin 7-6, 7-5.
De Minaur and John Peers were then defeated 6-3, 6-1 by Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.
Hungary will make their debut in Group D.
Along with Spain’s match against Ecuador on Friday, the United States will face Italy, and Novak Djokovic’s Serbia will face Austria.
The Davis Cup, which originated in 1900 as a bilateral competition between the United Kingdom and the United States, has undergone various transformations, the most recent of which occurred in 2019 when it was reconfigured to resemble a global championships.
There are 12 qualifiers in this year’s competition: Australia, Austria, Colombia, Croatia, and the Czech Republic. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.