Sydney, Australia , 30 December 2022 | AAP

Jason Kubler’s come-from-behind 6-3 7-6(3) defeat of highly fancied Dan Evans has given Australia something to cheer about after dropping their opening tie of the United Cup to Great Britain.

Alex de Minaur, Zoe Hives and Maddison Inglis each lost to their British rivals, the latter after being called in as a last-minute injury replacement for Ajla Tomljanovic.

While the best-of-five tie could not be salvaged, world No.107 Kubler put up a significant fight at the new mixed-gender team tournament by coming from 0-5 down in the second set to score his own straight-sets win over the world No.27.

Kubler punched well above his weight to score an early break over Evans and took the first set 6-3.

But Evans, who had defeated Kubler in both previous meetings, wasted little time bringing the Australian back to earth with a flurry of activity early in the second set.

The Englishman broke Kubler at the first chance and was in striking distance of claiming the set with a second break that had him up 5-0.

But the plucky Australian refused to lie down and was the first local to truly weaponise the crowd at the home tournament so far.

Kubler broke back twice at Ken Rosewall Arena and on his way to drawing level at 5-all, the chair umpire needed to remind the crowd more than once to temper its excitement.

Evans, himself a rambunctious character, was visibly rattled.

The Australian scrapped his way to a tiebreak on the back of his work ethic on court and once there, was never truly troubled by Evans.

He had three match points at 6-3 and made good on the first one to earn Australia’s first win in the competition.

Earlier, Inglis was called in as an injury replacement after a knee injury forced Tomljanovic’s withdrawal.

The world No.180-ranked Inglis had been bed-ridden with a stomach bug until days before the tournament.

On debut for her country, Inglis traded blows with Dart, who took the first set after errors began to creep into Inglis’ game.

Dart’s backhand was a handful for Inglis but the momentum finally shifted to the local when she broke her rival to lead the second set 4-3.

Inglis’ two double faults in the next game gave Dart the chance to serve for the tie, though, and the precise Brit made no mistake.

“I feel like I gave it everything I could, just a few cheap errors here and there which I think come normally in your first match of the season,” Inglis said.

“There are a few things to fix up but I really enjoyed it.”

Tomljanovic’s injury is not expected to affect her Australian Open chances and officials remain hopeful she can line-up in Australia’s next tie against Team Spain on 2-3 January.

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Australian co-captain Sam Stosur led by example in the final mixed doubles rubber, teaming with John Peers to record a 7-6(4) 6-4 win against Dart and Jonny O’Mara.

Aussies in action – United Cup

Cameron Norrie (GBR) Alex de Minaur (AUS) 6-3 6-3
Katie Swan (GBR) d Zoe Hives (AUS) 6-4 6-4
Harriet Dart (GBR) d Maddison Inglis (AUS) 6-4 6-4
Jason Kubler (AUS) d Dan Evans (GBR) 6-3 7-6(3)
Sam Stosur/John Peers (AUS) d Harriet Dart/Jonny O’Mara (GBR) 7-6(4) 6-4

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