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Gasquet and Herbert put France on the brink of Davis Cup victory

France need just one more win to seal Davis Cup glory, as Belgium fell to defeat in Saturday's doubles rubber.

25 Nov 2017, 22:56 IST
richardgasquet - Cropped
Richard Gasquet in action

Richard Gasquet and Pierre-Hugues Herbert left France on the cusp of a first Davis Cup victory since 2001 after winning a keenly fought doubles rubber against Belgium in Lille.

A win apiece for Belgium's David Goffin and France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga left the final nicely poised at 1-1 after Friday's singles encounters.

And it was the host nation, runners-up in 2014, that stole a march as Gasquet and Herbert defeated Joris De Loore and Ruben Bemelmans 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4.

France made a lightning start, Herbert's quick reactions at the net helping to make the initial break that quickly became a 4-0 lead from which Belgium could not recover.

However, after some words of encouragement from captain Johan Van Herck, the momentum swung Belgium's way.

France recovered from going 3-1 down to break back thanks largely to wonderful lob from Herbert, but Belgium broke again for a 4-2 lead that proved crucial in the second set.

It looked as though Belgium would press home the advantage, Herbert taking a stinging forehand flush on the forehead as France slipped 3-1 down.

But there was a deafening roar as France levelled once again at 5-5 before dominating when the set reached a tie-break.

There was little given up from either team at the beginning of a tense fourth, but Belgium squandered two break points in game six.

France duly took full advantage as some great work from Gasquet's forehand helped the hosts to earn a crucial break in the next game, with Belgium unable to mount a comeback.

If Tsonga can now beat Goffin in the first rubber of Sunday's action, then France will win a 10th Davis Cup title and draw level with Great Britain in third on the all-time list of champions.

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