Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet sent France into the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup with a straight-sets victory in the doubles match of their first-round tie with Canada on Saturday.
Tsonga and Gasquet defeated Philip Bester and Vasek Pospisil 7-6(4) 6-1 7-6(4) to give the hosts an unsurmountable 3-0 lead on the outdoor clay court of the Velodrome Amedee Detraux in Guadeloupe.
While France fielded their strongest team, also featuring Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon, Canada travelled to Guadeloupe without their best player Milos Raonic – out because of an adductor injury – and doubles specialist Daniel Nestor.
Bester played Davis Cup doubles for the first time.
The nine-time Davis Cup champions will either face Czech Republic or Germany in the quarterfinals in July.
Kazakhstan leads Serbia 2-1
Kazakhstan leads Serbia 2-1 in the first round of the Davis Cup after Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov beat Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic 6-3 7-6(3) 7-5 in the doubles match.
Golubev and Nedovyesov dominated, serving strongly and allowing the Serbs little space to fight back despite the presence of the world’s top-ranked player Djokovic and the home crowd.
Djokovic and Zimonjic started well, breaking early in the first set, but Golubev and Nedovyesov then won four games in a row to wrap up the set.
Djokovic and Zimonjic upped their game in the second set but their opponents didn’t flinch.
Golubev and Nedovyesov kept it up to the finish as their opponents failed to exploit a couple of break chances.
Djokovic admitted he lacked practice as a doubles player. But he added: “tomorrow is a new day and I am sure I will play better in the singles.
“It is not the first time that we are behind, it was so in the semifinals and finals when we won the trophy in 2010. We know how to prepare and we have many reasons to believe we can turn this around.”
Serbia coach Bogdan Obradovic said: “they fought very hard but the luck factor also played a role.”
Djokovic, who overcame eye infections to play, will face Mikhail Kukushkin in reverse singles on Sunday while Viktor Troicki will play against Aleksandr Nedovyesov.
Murray inspires Brits again
Andy Murray partnered his brother Jamie to guide Britain to a 6-3 6-2 6-4 win over Japan in a doubles match in the Davis Cup on Saturday, moving the titleholders into a 2-1 lead ahead of the reverse singles.
Andy Murray has now won his last 13 matches in the competition, 11 of them coming last year when Britain won the title for the first time in 79 years.
Competing in his first event since becoming a father, the former Wimbledon and US Open champion decided to play doubles a day after beating Taro Daniel with the loss of just five games on Friday to give Britain a 1-0 lead.
Murray finished off the win against Yoshihito Nishioka and Yasutaka Uchiyama with an ace, just like against Daniel.
“Hopefully I can play another good one tomorrow and seal the win,” said Murray, who is scheduled to play Kei Nishikori – Japan’s top player – in the first of the singles matches on Sunday.
Britain chose to play Murray in the doubles, whereas Japan decided to rest Nishikori. The Murray brothers didn’t face a break point against a pairing that is ranked outside the world’s top 300 in doubles
“We played a great match from start to finish,” said Jamie Murray, a doubles specialist. “We were very solid.”
Croatia on the brink of victory
Croatia needs only one more point to reach the Davis Cup quarterfinals after Ivan Dodig and Franko Skugor won the doubles against Belgium’s Ruben Bemelmans and David Goffin on Saturday.
After a tense first set, Dodig and Skugor broke their opponents four times and prevailed 7-6(5) 6-3 6-1 to give Croatia a 2-1 lead ahead of Sunday’s reverse singles.
In the opening singles on Friday, Goffin defeated Borna Coric in five sets on the clay court of Liege’s Country Hall, and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic eased past Kimmer Coppejans in straight sets.
The Belgian pair led 5-4 in the tiebreaker but the Croats held on serve and converted their first set point when Bemelmans went long. Dodig and Skugor then converted the second of three set points in the second set after another unforced error from Bemelmans, and easily won the 22-minute final set.
Dodig, who won the French Open doubles title last year with Marcelo Melo, said winning the difficult first set was “one of the keys,” adding: “it helped us stay in the match, then we were able to raise our game.”
On Sunday, Goffin will play Cilic, and Coppejans will face Coric.
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