Great Britain up against it after Dan Evans loses Davis Cup opener

Dan Evans was beaten by Tommy Paul in Glasgow (Steve Welsh/PA) (PA Wire)
Dan Evans was beaten by Tommy Paul in Glasgow (Steve Welsh/PA) (PA Wire)

Great Britain were left with a lot of work to do to win their opening Davis Cup tie against the USA in Glasgow after Dan Evans lost the first rubber to Tommy Paul.

An attractive match full of cat-and-mouse rallies in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Emirates Arena went the way of American number two Paul 6-4 4-6 6-4 after two hours and 32 minutes.

The result left Cameron Norrie needing to beat Taylor Fritz, with Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury due to take on Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock in the final doubles rubber.

A sombre start to the tie reflected the period of national mourning following the Queen’s death, with the usual music replaced by a lone piper and a minute of silence before the national anthems.

Only four ranking places separate the pair, with Evans, who wore a black ribbon on his shirt, at 25 and Paul a career high of 29.

The 25-year-old American is not yet a star name but he is a player with considerable all-round quality and in form after a strong summer.

He reached the fourth round at Wimbledon before running into Norrie and the third round of the US Open, where he pushed eventual finalist Casper Ruud to five sets.

Tommy Paul claimed an important win (Steve Welsh/PA) (PA Wire)
Tommy Paul claimed an important win (Steve Welsh/PA) (PA Wire)

He and Evans had a close tussle in Montreal last month so both knew the other’s game well, and there was little to choose between them throughout.

Evans was twice a break up in the opening set but was under pressure in every service game and Paul responded straight away on both occasions before clinching his fourth set point.

Evans received a warning for swearing but hit back well in the second, serving better and securing the only break in the fifth game.

Paul looked to have made the decisive move when he broke for 5-3 but Evans hit back, finishing off a terrific point with a brilliant lob.

The 32-year-old was again unable to hold his serve, though, saving two match points but netting on the third.