By Ros Satar, in Rouen
- R1: Lucas Pouille v Kyle Edmund
- R2: Jeremy Chardy v Dan Evans
- R3: Julien Benneteau / Nicolas Mahut v Dom Inglot / Jamie Murray
- R4: Lucas Pouille v Dan Evans
- R5: Jeremy Chardy v Kyle Edmund
ROUEN, FRANCE – The draw is set for the Davis Cup quarter-final tie between France and Great Britain, after a number of nomination changes for the hosts.
R1: Lucas Pouille v Kyle Edmund – H2H: Edmund leads 1-0.
The British No. 3 Kyle Edmund will be the one kicking things off in Rouen, after the draw took place on Thursday. It has been a spring of mixed fortunes for the Brit. After a decent run to the Delray Beach quarter-final but might have felt the rest of his hard court stint was a story of missed opportunities, and we are swiftly back around to Davis Cup duty.
While Edmund had the curious case of winning two matches in a row via default, he cannot rely on one of the best French prospects doing the same in the opener. Lucas Pouille has been rising up the tour rankings quite impressively over the past couple of years, landing in the Top 20 turning out for his nation twice in 2016, with a 2-1 win-loss record.
Although Edmund has the lead in their solitary encounter, it was at the start of the season with Pouille struggling with injury in the opening tournament of the season. Of course you expect the French to be able to handle the clay, but actually Edmund has a slightly stronger record on the dirt, along with maybe actually a little more experience behind him in Davis Cup.
He also knows what it is like to play with a highly vocal crowd behind his opponent, having weathered his way to two wins in Serbia, which helped his confidence no end in 2016.
Pouille had a flurry of activity in the tournaments after a poor time down under, edged in the Marseille final, and reaching the Dubai semi-final but his US hard court spring was also disappointing, losing to Donald Young in both Indian Wells and Miami.
Edmund possibly lacks the experience and indeed variety of Pouille at this stage and if he is going to get the win, we can expect it to be a long drawn out affair to start.
Prediction: Pouille in four sets
R2: Jeremy Chardy v Dan Evans
With the French side missing some of its more established stars, in comes Jeremy Chardy, also not a stranger to representing France in Davis Cup but his last turn in French colours was back in 2011.
He is a tricky match up for both the Brits as it is unknown territory but Chardy has a tendency to veer towards inconsistency. Once a Top 30 player back in 2013, his form has seen him slip to outside the Top 50 while the younger Brits are arguably on their way up.
Dan Evans has impressed many with his gallop up the rankings after focussing his attention on his tennis, reaching his first final earlier this ytear in Sydney. However his hot-headedness has landed him in hot water a few times this season already. There has never been any doubt of his talent and flair – now he needs to prove it.
If Chardy plays well he has a fairly flat forehand with a hint of topsin but his backhand is attackable. His serve can let him down quite considerably, and can be seen as a bit of a ball basher, and if Evans can draw him into the net, the Brit has a far defter touch.
In reality this is the most realistic of the Day One wins for the Brits, and Evans will want to conserve his energy for a far tougher prospect against Pouille in the reverse singles.
Prediction: Evans in four sets.
R3: Julien Benneteau / Nicolas Mahut v Dom Inglot / Jamie Murray
What was looking like a potentially tough task for Dom Inglot and Jamie Murray against one of the best doubles pairings around at the moment. A right thigh injury has ruled out Pierre-Hugues Herbert from the tie and while the experienced Julien Benneteau comes in to partner Nicolas Mahut, it possibly swings the pendulum back slightly to the Brits.
Benneteau has been struggling with injuries since 2015, missing eight months of that season and also missing the start of the new season having made his return in 2016. The doubles experience of both him and Mahut will certainly make this an exciting match-up but GB ought to feel optimistic of a result here to put them ahead going into the final day.
Prediction: GB in four sets.
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