Davis Cup - Saturday: French wrap up win

Sun, 07 Mar 08:52:00 2010

Doubles specialists Michael Llodra and Julien Benneteau combined to fire France into the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup with a battling four-set win over Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber and Christopher Kas in Toulon.

France's Julien Benneteau (3rd L) and Michael Llodra (4th L) wave the French flag with teammates after their victory over Germany's Christopher Kas and Philipp Kohlscheiber during the first round of their Davis Cup tennis match double in Toulon - 0

The victory gave the nine-times winners an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five tie and set up a last-eight clash against champions Spain in July.

French captain Guy Forget was pleased with the first Davis Cup outing for Llodra and Benneteau, who survived a third-set wobble to come through 6-1 6-4 1-6 7-5.

"I'm very satisfied with the way they started the match," Forget said.

"They were a bit shaky in the third set but they came back together in the fourth. We knew it would be a close doubles but we wanted to win at home."

Last year's finalists Czech Republic and 2005 winners Croatia also went through to the quarters on Saturday.

Czechs Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek followed up Friday's singles successes with a straight-sets doubles victory over Belgium's Steve Darcis and Olivier Rochus in Bree.

In Varazdin, Croatian pair Marin Cilic and Ivo Karlovic, who won their singles on Friday, teamed up to see off Ecuadorian brothers Nicolas and Giovanni Lapentti.

"It wasn't one-way traffic in the doubles, it was as tough as we expected it to be, and we are overjoyed to have secured a berth in the last eight," said Cilic.

The Czechs will next play Chile or Israel, whose tie was rescheduled to start on Saturday because of the disruption caused by last weekend's earthquake in the centre and south of the country that claimed hundreds of lives.

Nicolas Massu battled back from a set down to beat Dudi Sela in four sets in the opening singles in Coquimbo and then said he had struggled for concentration.

"When (the crowd) shouted 'Do it for the people down south', I had trouble concentrating. If I'd lost today, I'm not sure if I would have been able to pick myself up," Massu said.

Fernando Gonzalez, 5-1 down in the first set, also recovered from a set down to win in four seats against Harel Levy.

Troubled by a problem in his right leg during the match, the world number 10 said it might be better if he missed the doubles on Sunday and rested for his reverse singles on Monday.

Croatia will face neighbours Serbia.


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