Davis Cup Britain vs France Day 1

The first day of Britain's Davis Cup quarter final tie against France sees two of the UK's highest ranked players taking on two of the best France has to offer in two singles matches.

It's a big tie for more than just the obvious reasons - a quarter final is impressive, but if Britain can triumph at Queen's Club this weekend they will reach the semi finals for the first time since 1981. The semi final would be another home tie, and it would be against Australia or Kazakhstan, both tempting opponents.

Overcoming France is no mean feat, however. They were finalists in last year's competition, and they boast one of the strongest lineups of any side. Gilles Simon, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Richard Gasquet are ranked 11th, 12th, and 13th in the world respectively, and Nicolas Mahut is ranked 22nd in doubles.

Set that against British number 1 and world number 3 Andy Murray, world number 89 James Ward, and Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot for the doubles, who are ranked 20th and 40th in that category. There's no doubt the squad has quality, but the average level of competitiveness on paper doesn't match that of the French.

Tomorrow's matches see James Ward take on Gilles Simon, while Andy Murray faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Murray is reliably on form, but we think James Ward may prove to be the surprise package of the day.

Ward has been steadily improving all year - his progress to the third round of Wimbledon was fully earned, and he has broken into the top 100 rankings as a result. He's well on course to become Britain's second highest rated player, and let's not forget that his superb five sets victory over John Isner that helped win the previous round against the USA.

Gilles Simon is a formidable opponent and there's no doubt Ward is the underdog, but we think he's worth a longer odds punt at 5/1 over at StanJames.

Andy Murray should be well placed to take victory also. Tsonga is ranked highly enough to be a difficult opponent, but Murray leads their meetings by 10 wins to 2, and we think he's going to add number eleven on Friday evening. The best place to back him is at BoyleSports, who are offering a remarkably short yet still market leading 1/5.

Finally, for a slightly longer odds selection on Murray, we're tempted to pick up Murray to win in straight sets. When it came to Wimbledon he was a force to be reckoned with until he came up against Roger Federer, and losing to Federer is no shame whatsoever. We're betting he'll carry that form back over to Queen's, where he won just before the Wimbledon tournament began. The best place to back him to win by three sets to love is at 888Sport, who are offering a decent 11/10.

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