French tennis fans heaved a sigh of relief on Saturday as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (pictured) and Michaeal Llodra beat their Spanish rivals hands down in doubles at the Davis Cup semi-final, placing them at one point to Spain’s two overall.
AP – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra led a rampant France past Spain in Saturday’s doubles to cut their Davis Cup semifinal deficit to 2-1.
Tsonga and Llodra made easy work of Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco, converting a break point on their very first chance and never looking back to secure a 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 victory in 1 hour, 39 minutes at Cordoba’s bullring.
While Spain was on the receiving end of a drubbing Saturday, the four-time champion can still clinch its place in the final on Sunday when Rafael Nadal is scheduled to face Gilles Simon in reverse singles on the outdoor clay.
Argentina led Serbia 2-0 after Friday’s singles in the other semifinal.
France captain Guy Forget may opt to play Tsonga against Nadal since teams can make a change up to one hour before matches. Tsonga is the only French player with repeated wins over Nadal having won twice in seven matchups, although the pair have never met on clay.
Nadal hasn’t lost a singles Davis Cup rubber since losing on his debut in 2004, racking up a 17-1 record that includes 13-0 on clay. The six-time French Open champion has lost only five of his last 100 matches on clay.
While France was routed in singles on Friday, a refreshed Tsonga provided the perfect compliment to French doubles specialist Llodra as they overwhelmed the hosts.
Both Lopez and Verdasco struggled with their serve throughout and the French shrugged off the 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures for seven break points with none for Spain.
The Spaniards hit just 19 winners to the visitors’ 41, and the 10th-ranked Tsonga closed out the rout as he fired down the pair’s ninth ace of the day.
In the other reverse singles match scheduled for Sunday, David Ferrer is scheduled to play Richard Gasquet.