France into Davis Cup final, US still alive, Great Britain edge ahead
Defending champions France made it back-to-back Davis Cup finals as they secured an unassailable 3-0 lead over Spain on Saturday.
Having won the opening rubbers on Friday, captain Yannick Noah turned to Nicolas Mahut and Julien Benneteau for the doubles and the pair claimed a straight-sets win over Feliciano Lopez and Marcel Granollers.
After comfortably winning the opening two sets, France fought off resistance in the third before wrapping it up 6-0, 6-4, 7-6 (9-7).
Noah, who will retire at the end of this year and will be replaced by Benneteau as France captain, said: “This is the best I have seen from my team in three years. I didn’t have a beer for a week – I deserve my beer.”
They will meet either Croatia or the United States in the final with the former leading 2-1 ahead of Sunday’s reverse singles.
Croatia started Saturday with a 2-0 lead, but the Americans stormed back in the doubles thanks to Mike Bryan and Ryan Harrison
The pair claimed a marathon 7-5, 7-6 (6), 1-6, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5) victory over Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic in a match that lasted four hours and 41 minutes.
“Yeah, we were feeling pretty good, going up two sets to love,” Bryan said. “Had a break point early in the third. Felt like maybe we could have jumped on top of it and finished it, but they got loose.”
He added: “It was just a dog fight. Could have gone either way. Luckily I had a great partner in Harry. He stepped up there at the end, and he played great.”
Meanwhile, Great Britain will take a 2-1 lead into Sunday’s reverse singles after Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot came from a set down to win the doubles.
The duo beat Denis Istomin and Sanjar Fayziev 4-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-2, 6-3.
“We were fighting hard in the first couple of sets but couldn’t quite find a break,” Murray said. “We were so close to being two sets to love down, then we relaxed a bit and played really well in the last two sets.”
Great Britain need only one win on Sunday to secure their seeding for next year’s revamped Davis Cup.
Cameron Norrie will take on Istomin while Dan Evans will play against Jurabek Karimov in the final match of the weekend.
More from Tennis365:
Comment – Andy Murray has the answers he needs as he decides what happens next
Murray should appreciate that a chastening handful of defeats should offer him the ray of light he has been seeking.
WTA Transylvania Open draw: Potential Simona Halep and Emma Raducanu blockbuster semi-final looming
This way for your Transylvania Open draw.
Tennis icon Billie Jean King explains why she admires Ons Jabeur and why she wants the Tunisian to succeed
Billie Jean King is certainly a big fan of Ons Jabeur.
Disappointment for Emma Raducanu as she prepares to play in Romania
Raducanu had spoken about her excitement ahead of Transylvania Open.
‘They seemed to have a nice camaraderie’ – Tennis great urges Emma Raducanu to rehire her former coach
Should Emma Raducanu rehire Andrew Richardson?
WATCH: Rafael Nadal helps to create an ‘unforgettable’ birthday for 90-year-old with special message
A special birthday wish from Rafael Nadal.
‘It was a difficult decision but I need to prioritise my body,’ says Ashleigh Barty after ending 2021 campaign
The 25-year-old said she was ‘not willing to compromise my preparation for January’ and Australian Open.
‘Sport is a results business,’ says Andy Murray as he pinpoints where he needs to improve
“You need to be winning and winning matches maybe when you’re not playing your best,” says Murray.
Jannik Sinner still in the mix for ATP Finals qualification after making progress in Antwerp
Sinner stayed on course for the end-of-season Nitto ATP Finals.
Exclusive – Revealing the Mouratoglou coaching methods that took Serena Williams to a new level
What has made Patrick Mouratoglou the go-to guru for the game’s biggest names?