Leon Smith: 'The only way is up for Cameron Norrie'

Great Britain's hopes of winning the 2018 Davis Cup are over at the first hurdle after they were beaten by Spain.

And the seven hours and 44 minutes he spent on court across two days proved to be too much in the end, going down 7-6 2-6 7-6 6-2 in Marbella.

Despite a fearless effort from British no 4 Liam Broady, he slipped to a 6-3 6-4 7-6 defeat to Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the opening rubber, leaving Norrie with a battle on his hands against Bautista Agut, the world no 23 and victor of seven ATP Tour titles.

That means Great Britain now face a September play-off, a match they need to win if they are to stay in the World Group in 2019.

Great Britain captain Leon Smith said: "I can't speak highly enough of what Cam's done all weekend and yet again today".

"People might have thought Friday was a one-off but he did it again against another high-quality player".

Norrie, who sits 114th in the world, gave 21st-ranked Ramos-Vinolas a torrid time for long stretches of the match. He pushed him really close and I'm really proud of him.

With Andy Murray injured and Kyle Edmund rested, Norrie, 22, had become an instant national hero on Friday when he upset Roberto Bautista, another Spaniard ranked in the top 25.

It was Spain's first tie on home soil since 2013.

As well as Norrie played, he was never in front in the match and the effort of coming from behind finally told in the fourth set.

  • Stacy Allen