Defending title holders Spain suffered a heavy blow in their title defense before hitting an angry bullet at Carlos Alcaraz in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19.
The rest of the Spanish squad, who are missing Rafael Nadal, were given the green light after PCR tests to face Ecuador in Madrid on Friday.
Sweden were in compelling form in the Spanish capital against the 2019 Canadian finalists who fought without their top two players Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov.
Elias Ymer, 25, put on the show on the road, beating Steven Diez 6-4, 6-2 before his two-year-old younger brother Mikael overtook Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4.
“Today my forehand was exploding,” Elias said. “I was hitting winners everywhere! “
Robert Lindstedt and Andre Goransson then combined for a 7-6, 6-4 doubles victory over Pospisil and Brayden Schnur to leave the Swedes needing a win over Kazakhstan on Saturday to advance to the quarter-finals for the first times since 2011.
In Innsbruck, where the increase in coronavirus cases and the subsequent lockdown in Austria meant matches were played again in an empty arena, France got off to a rocky start when 35-year-old veteran Richard Gasquet lost 7- 6, 6 -2 to Tomas Machac.
“Experience is not everything. Form is the key and I was not up to it today, ”said Gasquet.
But France then came back as Adrian Mannarino beat Jiri Vesely 6-7 (1/7), 6-4, 6-2.
And Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert completed the comeback with a three-set loss from Jiri Lehecka and Machac.
Great Britain completes Group C.
Australia, 28 times Davis Cup winners, have their work cut out for them following their 3-0 loss to Croatia in Turin.
Borna Gojo beat Alexei Popyrin 7-6, 7-5 before Marin Cilic sent Alex de Minaur 6-1, 5-7, 6-4.
Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic went on to take a 6-3, 6-1 victory over De Minaur and John Peers.
Hungary are awaiting their debut in Group D.
On Friday, in addition to Spain against Ecuador, the United States will face Italy and Novak Djokovic’s Serbia will face Austria.
The Davis Cup, which began in 1900 as a bilateral competition between Great Britain and the United States, has undergone many transformations in the past, most recently in 2019 when it was remodeled to resemble World Championships. world.
This year’s competition sees 12 qualifiers – Australia, Austria, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Sweden and the United States – joined by the semi-finalists from the previous edition – Spain, Canada, Great Britain and Russia Tennis Federation.
These are joined by two wild card nations, France and Serbia.
These 18 nations are divided into six groups of three, with winners and the first pair of second places going into the quarterfinal pot.
The semi-finals and the final on December 5 will all be played in the Spanish capital, a reward for the team that won the title two years ago after the cancellation of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.