Evans beats Frenchman Benneteau to salvage pride for Britain

Jeremy Chardy of France jubilates as he won his Davis Cup quarterfinal tennis match between France and Britain at the Kindarena Stadium of Rouen France Friday

Mitchell notes that the Davis Cup is under some pressure, with officials looking to cut the singles matches from five to three sets to try and attract more top players.

Britain's pairing of Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot stated the case for doubles remaining untouched in any overhaul of the Davis Cup before their quarterfinal against France.

Serbia has an unassailable 3-0 lead, and will go to France in the semifinals in September. They have not met since the 2010 final, which Serbia won 3-2 at home. Today it just felt like I came off the match and said, "You gave it your best effort, it just wasn't good enough today".

Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans failed to win a set between them at the Kindarena in Rouen, with Edmund beaten 7-5 7-6 (8/6) 6-3 by Lucas Pouille before Evans went down 6-2 6-3 6-3 to Jeremy Chardy.

Britain have won 17 of their last 19 doubles rubbers - only America's Bryan brothers have been able to beat them in that period.

"France are a very good team".

It was the latter in particular who turned on the style in the crucial stages, producing two set points out of nowhere, and though Britain defended them manfully, when faced by a third, Murray suffered his first double fault of the match. But Inglot held serve for 5-5.

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Mahut grabbed match point with a screaming drive in the 12th game. Both Murray and Mahut have enjoyed No1 rankings in doubles: The rubber, then, is expected to be a tight one.

However, Nicolas Mahut and Julien Benneteau are experienced adversaries ad rallied after falling behind in the third to break back.

Mahut sank to his knees as Benneteau tilted his head back and clenched both fists.

"They are motivated because for a long time they have not won the title and I believe that they still remember the Belgrade defeat".

The captain has said he is looking for Edmund and Evans to move up the world rankings and strengthen his shallow squad in the Davis Cup next year.

"Magnifique, magnifique!" Noah shouted as he hugged the players, and the national anthem, "La Marseillaise", rang out. It would be wrong to say we've lost.

The clay surface made things even tougher for Britain but Murray and Inglot, playing together for the fourth time, were the stronger pair for much of the match and were left to rue costly errors at important moments. With Murray's absence due to an elbow injury, GB's lack of depth was exposed, with team captain Leon Smith eager to address that as soon as possible.