By Ros Satar, in Glasgow
- Dan Evans leads Team GB off on the first day of the toe between Great Britain and Uzbekistan
- Cameron Norrie will play Jurabek Karimov in the second rubber
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie will hope Glasgow crowd can lift them to a good start as Great Britain face Uzbekistan in the Davis Cup World Group Play-off
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Dan Evans v Denis Istomin | H2H: Istomin leads 1-0 (Challenger)
It is a tough start for Britain’s Dan Evans as he makes his return to the British fold after serving a 12-month drugs suspension, after testing positive for cocaine. The ban came at a time when the brit had reached a first ATP final and was at a career high of World No. 47 and has had to work his way back the hard way.
He has managed to bring himself back up to just outside the Top 200 this year, but still has a long way to go to find the form and consistency he displayed in 2017, and while Denis Istomin has fallen from a career high of World No. 33 back om 2012, his general experience and consistency makes him a favourite in a team built around Uzbekistan’s star player.
His start to the year was blighted with a hip injury, causing him to retire in Brisbane at the start of the season. Reaching the quarter-final there was his brightest light, as he failed to get any back to back wins until Stuttgart at the start of the grass court season, before winning the final of Kitzbuhel in August.
He won the Asian games title, but fell in his US Open opener, and prepared for this tie with a win in the Chicago challenger.
It has been a tough road back for Evans after his spectacular fall from grace. Given wildcards into qualifying he made his comeback here in the Glasgow Challenger, losing in the main draw first round. It was slightly better in Loughborough and improved in Surbiton coming through qualifying again to reach the semi-final, before reaching the final of the Nottingham Challenger.
He had no favours coming into Wimbledon, losing in qualifying and won the Vancouver Challenger. However, he has thrived at times under the pressure cooker atmosphere of the Davis Cup, most notably being part of the team that came back from 0-2 down in the Group I second round against Russia in 2013.
It would be a fairy tale for Evans to come through against Istomin, but it might be a tough ask this soon in his comeback.
Prediction: Istomin in three sets.
Cameron Norrie v Jurabek Karimov | First meeting
British No. 2 Cameron Norrie picks up his second call up for Davis Cup this year after his heroics against Spain. He will face the relatively unknown Jurabek Karimov who has spent his time mixing things up between the Futures and Challenger tours. On the Futures he has looked consistent but has yet to string together a back to back win this year on any of the Challenger tour events.
He, like Istomin, played in the Asian games and his confidence might be boosted by reaching the quarter-final there. Norrie has grown a lot in experience this year, and really should have a lot more variety and experience behind him to come through and leave Britain level with Uzbekistan.
Prediction: Norrie in three sets.
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