Davis Cup: Dan Evans wins on return but Cameron Norrie throws away lead

first_img … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Norrie, the team’s world No70 and No1 active player, whose father arrived from New Zealand two days previously, had an altogether trickier time against the world No 434, Jurabek Karimov, who recovered from two sets and a break down in the third, saving match point in the tiebreak, to win 0-6, 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-2, 6-2.As the 20-year-old Uzbek shed his early serving nerves, he began to hit with abandon and wit. Norrie, meanwhile, did not faintly resemble the player who announced his arrival in Davis Cup in February by coming from two sets down to beat the clay specialist Roberto Bautista Agut in Spain.Norrie was candid in defeat. “Honestly, at the end of day, he played too good. All credit to him. It was tough for me to find a clear way to win. I competed as hard as I could and couldn’t ask any more of myself. I’ll try to forget that as soon as possible but it hurts a lot because I’m not just playing for myself, I’m playing for the team.”Much now depends on the doubles , when Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot should restore the lead against Istomin and Sanjar Fayziev, as well as how Norrie recovers in the reverse singles against Istomin on Sunday. Support The Guardian Share on LinkedIn Topics Share via Email Pinterest Twitter USA fall behind Croatia in Davis Cup as US Open umpire Carlos Ramos returns Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie land on centre stage for a Davis Cup finale With characteristic understatement Evans said of his own intense struggle with 32-year-old Istomin, who has won 48 Davis Cup matches for Uzbekistan, “It’s good to get a win against a top-60 guy.‘ For the Birmingham maverick, it was more than just a mood-setting win in a Davis Cup tie; victory represented another stage of his redemption.Elaborating on sentiments he expressed on his return in April from a one-year drugs ban – down the road in a leisure centre in Scotstoun – Evans described his lonely purdah. “You’re just so far away from the world you’re used to. That’s the hardest part. I had to live a pretty boring, sheltered life, No real existence or importance. I didn’t do much. I just had to play second fiddle. I didn’t have anything to do because I couldn’t play tennis.”But he is back now – still short of his pre-ban best, he concedes, but finding his feet, at times stroking fine winners, from chips and lobs to single-handed backhands that kissed the lines. He sliced more than he bashed, which kept Istomin off-balance on the baseline, though he too contributed to the entertainment with a welter of quality ground strokes, saving five match points before Evans sealed the rubber.Did he have doubts he would make it back? “I’m nowhere near back there yet. I’m only [222] in the world. I still have doubts if I’ll get back, but that’s pretty normal. Days like today make you see light at the end of the tunnel.”What mattered most was the reception he got from a smaller than usual but equally noisy gathering. There was little dissension about his performance. Of the hardcore fans who occupied 4,715 of the 6,529 available seats, there was near-unanimous approval . Victory for the world’s fifth-ranked team will enhance their seeding when the competition is decided for the first time in a best-of-18 round robin in Lille or Madrid. The Davis Cup has sacrificed home-and-away romance for a World-Cup style format intended to lure the biggest stars back from more lucrative endeavours in a packed schedule.Murray is not among the abstainers. He is 3,200 miles away across the Atlantic working on his recovering hip. In a video message on the stadium’s screen he said, “I’m very sorry I can’t be there to support the team and I will be watching here in Philadelphia.” Read more Read more Six times in nine Davis Cup ties over 13 years in Glasgow the crowds have flocked to acclaim the deeds of their own tennis knight, Andy Murray. In his absence from what will almost certainly be the last Cup fixture in the city of his birth in a long time they reserved their appreciation for the triumph of Dan Evans on his return from an enforced sabbatical, then were stunned by the five-set defeat of Cameron Norrie, a still unfamiliar son of a Glaswegian emigre.“I’m very proud to represent my country and win,” Evans said after a gruelling 7-6 (4), 4-6, 0-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over Denis Istomin in four hours and 11 minutes, the perfect start to Great Britain’s World Group play-off against Uzbekistan on Friday. Facebook Davis Cup Share on Twitter Reuse this content World No 434 Jurabek Karimov celebrates his dramatic comeback win over Cameron Norrie. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Share on Pinterest Share on Messenger Share on Facebook Since you’re here… Tennis Share on WhatsApp newslast_img

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