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18 Sep 2010 18:17
France reached the Davis Cup final after Mickael Llodra and Arnaud Clement beat Eduardo Schwank and Horacio Zeballos 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 in the doubles on Saturday to take an unbeatable 3-0 lead over Argentina.
France, who got off to a perfect start on Friday with wins by Llodra and Gael Monfils, will face either Serbia away or the Czech Republic at home in the December 3-5 final.
Although they were without their injured number one Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Guy Forget’s team went on the attack in all their three matches, backed by a loud Palais des Sports crowd.
“I am very proud, they’re all here together, the seven of them, those who played and those who also contributed to this victory,” captain Forget said in a courtside interview as Monfils, substitute Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet, Tsonga and Julien Benneteau congratulated the day’s winners.
“There is still a great tie to be played,” Forget added.
Clement and Llodra, pairing up in the men’s team event for the first time since 2008, quickly found their marks, bagging the opening set with a spectacular point at the net.
They raced to a 2-0, 40-0 lead in the second but got over-confident and let their opponents back into the match.
However, Llodra was too strong at the net, Clement too precise on his service returns, for them to be really threatened and they pocketed the second set with a decisive break in the 12th game.
Schwank and Zeballos continued to struggle at the net in the third and a Llodra service winner earned the home side a deserved win after two hours and 29 minutes.
Monfils is due to play Nalbandian and Llodra is set to take on Monaco in Sunday’s reverse singles. - Reuters
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