Davis Cup: Aus­tralia and France lead 2-1 in semi­fi­nals

Ten­nis

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - SPORT -

Two-time Grand Slam cham­pi­ons Ni­co­las Mahut and Pier­reHugues Herbert beat Filip Kra­ji­novic and Ne­nad Zi­mon­jic 61, 6-2, 7-6 (3) for France to lead Ser­bia 2-1 in the Davis Cup semi­fi­nals on Saturday.

Apart from a scare in the third set when the Serb pair won four games in a row, Mahut and Herbert were in con­trol on the in­door clay court and put France one win away from its 18th Davis Cup fi­nal.

In the other semi­fi­nal in Brus­sels, Aus­tralia also needs just one more point to reach the fi­nal for the first time since it won the ti­tle in 2003 af­ter John Peers and Jor­dan Thomp­son breezed past Arthur de Greef and Ruben Bemel­mans of Bel­gium 6-3, 6-4, 6-0.

A highly an­tic­i­pared con­test be­tween Bel­gium’s David Gof­fin and Nick Kyr­gios could be­come the cli­max of Sun­day’s re­verse sin­gles in the Bel­gian cap­i­tal.

In the north­ern city of Lille, the French were flaw­less on their ser­vice games un­til 5-2 in the third set when Herbert was bro­ken af­ter he hit a dou­ble fault. The Ser­bian duo broke again fol­low­ing two beau­ti­ful win­ners from Kra­ji­novic — a per­fect lob and pass­ing shot — but the French proved stronger in the tiebreaker.

“We are su­per happy and very proud,” said Herbert, who won Wim­ble­don and the U.S Open with Mahut. “It’s never easy to serve for the match, I felt weaker at the worst time.”

Mahut, who has been ham­pered by a calf in­jury in re­cent weeks, thanked the med­i­cal staff for en­abling him to play.

“They did not count their hours to put me back on my feet,” he said. “This vic­tory is also theirs.”

Friday’s sin­gles were played out­doors but or­ga­niz­ers de­cided to close the roof at Pierre Mau­roy Sta­dium be­cause of fore­casts of bad weather.

In the ab­sence of No­vak Djokovic, Vik­tor Troicki, and Janko Tip­sare­vic, Ser­bia was given lit­tle chance against the French, but Du­san La­jovic gave Ser­bia a 1-0 lead on Friday be­fore Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga won the sec­ond sin­gles.

In Sun­day’s first re­verse sin­gles, Tsonga can clinch the tie for France with vic­tory over La­jovic. If he fails, the tie will be de­cided in the fi­nal sin­gles be­tween Lu­cas Pouille and Serb debu­tant Laslo Djere.

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