Tennis-Ymer brothers give Sweden winning start at Davis Cup Finals

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- Brothers Elias and Mikael Ymer comfortably won their singles rubbers against Canada to get seven-times champions Sweden off to a winning start in the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid on Thursday.

The tournament began on Thursday with 18 finalists set to compete in six groups of three across three cities -- Madrid, Turin and Innsbruck. Eight teams qualify for the knockout rounds and the final taking place in Madrid on Dec. 5.

Elias hit 22 winners as he eased past Steven Diez 6-4 6-2 in the first match before younger brother Mikael made it 2-0 with a solid 6-4 6-4 victory over Vasek Pospisil.

Mikael was impressive on serve, winning 80% points on his first serve and facing just one break point.

"I tried to stay in the moment and tried to enjoy it. At the end it's just a game, even if it's a lot we are playing for," said the 23-year-old, who is ranked 93 in the world.

"When you play someone like Vasek who's so good in his offence it doesn't give me, especially with my toolbox, it doesn't give me a lot of other options then to try to counter.

"And I think the serve helped a lot today to not give him too many looks, especially in my service game."

Former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic and Borna Gojo handed 2018 victors Croatia a 2-0 lead over Australia in Turin.

Gojo fired eight aces to secure a 7-6(5) 7-5 victory over Alexei Popyrin, who is 215 rungs above the Croatian in the ATP rankings.

Cilic edged past Alex de Minaur 6-1 5-7 6-4 in the second rubber.

The Czech Republic's Tomas Machac caused a huge upset on his Davis Cup debut when the 21-year-old, ranked 143 in the world, beat France veteran Richard Gasquet 7-6(3) 6-2 to give his side a 1-0 lead in Innsbruck.

Gasquet fired more winners at an empty Olympiahalle arena, which has no fans due to Austria's reintroduction of a COVID-19 lockdown, but the 35-year-old made several unforced errors and allowed Machac to win five games in a row at one point.

Adrian Mannarino brought France level at 1-1 with the Czechs after downing Jiri Vesely 6-7(1) 6-4 6-2.

Defending champions Spain begin their Group A campaign on Friday in Madrid when they take on Ecuador. ATP Cup winners Russia are also in their group, with world number two Daniil Medvedev and world number five Andrey Rublev in the team.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair and Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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