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Tennis-Italy reach last eight in Davis Cup Finals, wins for Russia and Britain

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By Reuters
Tennis-Britain beat France 2-1 in Davis Cup, Australia struggle
Tennis-Britain beat France 2-1 in Davis Cup, Australia struggle   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p> -Favourites Russia Tennis Federation opened their Davis Cup Finals campaign with a resounding victory over Ecuador, Britain began with a win against France and Italy eased into the quarter-finals with a win over Colombia on Saturday.</p> <p>But 28-time champions Australia are facing almost certain elimination despite beating Hungary 2-1.</p> <p>Novak Djokovic’s Serbia were beaten 2-1 by Germany in Group F as the world number one lost a thrilling doubles decider, meaning they must wait until Sunday’s final round-robin matches before knowing whether or not they progress.</p> <p>The Russians beat Ecuador 3-0 in Madrid to move level with holders Spain whom they face on Sunday to decide who will emerge as winners of Group A.</p> <p>World number five Andrey Rublev beat Roberto Quiroz 6-3 4-6 6-1 before U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev crushed world number 149 Emilio Gomez for the loss of two games.</p> <p>Rublev then teamed up with Aslan Karatsev to beat Gonzalo Escobar and Diego Hidalgo in three sets.</p> <p>Italy, who beat the U.S. in their opening Group E tie, won both their singles matches against Colombia in Turin with victories for Lorenzo Sonego and Jannik Sinner.</p> <p>Britain were given a fast start against France in Group C with Dan Evans beating Adrian Mannarino 7-5 6-4.</p> <p>Cameron Norrie then defeated Arthur Rinderknech 6-2 7-6(8) after coming back from 1-4 down in an absorbing tiebreak.</p> <p>France won the doubles as Rinderknech, a late replacement for Pierre-Hugues Herbert, joined Nicolas Mahut to beat Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski 6-1 6-4 — a win that could prove vital for France who had beaten the Czech Republic.</p> <p>Britain play the Czechs on Sunday with top spot at stake.</p> <p>Djokovic was made to work overtime in Serbia’s clash with Germany in Innsbruck where fans are not permitted.</p> <p>After team mate Filip Krajinovic lost 7-6(4) 6-4 to Dominik Koepfer, Djokovic levelled the tie with a comfortable win against Jan-Lennard Struff.</p> <p>Djokovic returned to court to partner Nikola Cacic but Serbia’s hopes of progressing as group winners were dashed as the Serbian pair lost 7-6 3-6 7-6 to Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz despite being a break ahead in the decider.</p> <p>Serbia, who beat Austria 3-0 in their opening Group F tie, must now wait until Germany’s clash with Austria on Sunday to learn their fate although they are well placed to progress as one of the best runners-up.</p> <p>Eighteen teams are competing in six round-robin groups across three cities for places in the last eight which begin on Monday. Six group winners and the two best runners-up advance.</p> <p>The ties in Innsbruck are being played behind closed doors due to Austria’s reintroduction of a <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 lockdown while those in Madrid and Turin have less-than-capacity attendances.</p> <p><span class="caps">AUSTRALIA</span> ON <span class="caps">THE</span> <span class="caps">BRINK</span></p> <p>Australia beat Hungary 2-1 in Turin but finished their Group D campaign with a 2-4 record having lost 3-0 loss to Croatia in their opening match on Thursday.</p> <p>Australia went 1-0 down against Hungary when Zsombor Piros, ranked 282nd in the world, claimed the biggest win of his career by beating John Millman 4-6 6-4 6-3.</p> <p>Lleyton Hewitt’s Australia finally claimed their first victory of the tournament when Alex de Minaur came through a three-hour match to beat Marton Fucsovics 7-5 2-6 7-6(2).</p> <p>The doubles pairing of Alex Bolt and John Peers sealed the tie when they beat the Hungarian duo 6-3 6-7(11) 6-3. Hungary face Croatia on Sunday.</p> <p>In Madrid, Kazakhstan beat Sweden 2-1 in Group B with their doubles pairing of Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov sealing victory after Swede Elias Ymer and Kazakh Alexander Bublik won their singles rubbers.</p> <p>Sweden remain top of the group, having beaten Canada 3-0 but Kazakhstan can win it with a victory over Canada on Sunday.</p> </div>