Paris: Andy Murray hailed unheralded British compatriot Cameron Norrie as "amazing" on Friday as Davis Cup underdogs delivered a series of body blows to the established powers of men's tennis.
Murray was the architect of Britain's Davis Cup title triumph in 2015 but injury ruled him out of the trip to Marbella to face Spain, playing in their clay court comfort zone.
But World No 114 Norrie, making his debut in the competition, stunned Spain's 23rd-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to pull Britain level at 1-1 in the World Group tie after World No 21 Albert Ramos-Vinolas had seen off Liam Broady 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (6).
"That’s one of the most amazing wins/results/upsets I’ve seen in a long time on a tennis court.. Well done to cam norrie and all the team.. Broady was excellent," tweeted Murray, recovering at home from hip surgery.
Spain, the five-time Davis Cup winners, were expected to cruise through the tie even without injured World No 1 Rafael Nadal.
But 22-year-old Corrie, who had never before competed on European red clay, was undaunted by facing a player who had not lost a Davis Cup match since 2014.
"It is 100 percent the best day of my career," said Corrie. "I backed myself physically and mentally against the guy. I wanted to work him as hard as I could."
Spain's Davis Cup skipper, Sergi Bruguera, in charge for the first time, hailed Corrie.
"He played unbelievably," the former two-time French Open champion told daviscup.com.
Defending champions France were also level with the Netherlands in Albertville, but only after a shock in the first rubber when World No 369 Thiemo de Bakker downed the 25h-ranked Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-3.
Mannarino was a late call-up after first choices Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Lucas Pouille pulled out injured.
"I don't fear the French. I have beaten them before and I knew that I had the weapons to defeat them again," said De Bakker.
Fortunately for France, the experienced Richard Gasquet levelled the tie by seeing off Robin Haase 6-4, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 7-5 despite suffering from blisters.
In Brisbane, Australia and Germany were also 1-1 but World No 5 Alexander Zverev survived a huge scare before seeing off the 139th-ranked Alex de Minaur 7-5, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4).
Nick Kyrgios pulled the hosts level seeing off Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on the back of 21 aces.
Croatia, missing Australian Open runner-up and World No 3 Marin Cilic, are 1-1 at home to Canada in Osijek.
Borna Coric claimed a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 victory over 85th-ranked Vasek Pospisil before fellow 'NextGen' star Dennis Shapovalov, ranked 48 eased to a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over Viktor Galovic, the world 181.
For 18-year-old Shapovalov, it was a less dramatic first-round tie compared to 12 months ago when he was defaulted for accidentally hitting the chair umpire with a ball in the home tie against Britain.
Japan, without talisman Kei Nishikori, are 1-1 with Italy in Morioka.
Fabio Fognini, the world 22, saw off 100-ranked Taro Daniel 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 before Yuichi Sugita levelled by beating Andreas Seppi 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (1).
Elsewhere Friday, Belgium, the 2017 runners-up, opened a 2-0 lead over Hungary who are bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
In Astana, Kazakhstan are also 2-0 to the good against 2014 champions Switzerland who are without Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka.
Record 32-time champions the United States were 1-0 up on Serbia, playing without the injured Novak Djokovic, in Nis after Sam Querrey, ranked at 12, battled past World No 88 Laslo Djere (6/7 (4), 6-2, 7-5, 6-4).
Published Date: Feb 03, 2018 10:39 AM | Updated Date: Feb 03, 2018 10:39 AM