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Britain, Kazakhstan win opening ties in Davis Cup finals

Britain beat France and Kazakhstan rallied past Sweden in their opening ties in the Davis Cup finals on Saturday.

Britain downed France 2-1 after winning both singles in Innsbruck. Daniel Evans bettered Adrian Mannarino 7-5, 6-4, while Cameron Norrie beat Arthur Rinderknech 6-2, 7-6.

The 12th-ranked Norrie overcame a dozen aces by Rinderknech after breaking his serve twice. Evans broke Mannarino’s serve three times.

Britain's Daniel Evans reacts after winning against France's Adrian Mannarino during a Davis Cup group C match between France and Great Britain in Innsbruck, Austria, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (PhotoMichael Probst)

“It is always good to get the tie done and dusted in the singles and not have a nervy doubles match," Evans said. "I never want to be sat there at 1-1, I want to be 2-0.”

Rinderknech teamed with Nicolas Mahut to recover the doubles point for France by beating Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski 6-1, 6-4.

Britain and France have one point in Group C. Britain plays the pointless Czech Republic, which already lost to France, on Sunday with the chance to seal its spot in the quarterfinals.

Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik returns the ball to Sweeden's Mikael Ymer during their Davis Cup tennis match at the Madrid Arena stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)

Sweden was one win away from advancing from Group B after Elias Ymer hit nine aces to beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 7-6 in the first singles against Kazakhstan, played in Madrid.

But brother Mikael Ymer fell to Alexander Bublik in three sets before the Kazakhs clinched the comeback in the doubles.

Bublik lost his first set but rebounded to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 while hitting 10 aces. Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov then brushed aside Andre Goransson and Robert Lindstedt 6-3, 6-3.

Sweeden's Mikael Ymer returns the ball to Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik during their Davis Cup tennis match at the Madrid Arena stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)

Kazakhstan can clinch its sixth quarterfinals appearance if it beats Canada, which has already lost to Sweden.

The 18-team competition was not played last year because of the pandemic. There aren't any fans allowed in Innsbruck due to local health restrictions imposed because of a spike in cases in Europe. Capacity is at 60% in Turin and 75% in Madrid.

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Sweeden's Mikael Ymer serves against Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik during their Davis Cup tennis match at the Madrid Arena stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)

France's Arthur Rinderknech serves against Great Britain's Cameron Norrie during a Davis Cup group C match between France and Great Britain in Innsbruck, Austria, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (PhotoMichael Probst)