Pouille to open for France in Davis Cup semifinals

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France is bidding for a first Davis Cup title since 2001, having lost three finals since with the most recent a defeat by Roger Federer's Switzerland in 2014.

That Yannick Noah's host has yet to book its place in the final is down to Dusan Lajovic's shock win in Friday's opening rubber against Lucas Pouille, although Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had levelled the tie by beating Laslo Djere.

Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert defeated Filip Krajinovic and Nenad Zimonjic 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (3) to give France a 2-1 lead over Serbia in the Davis Cup semifinals here on Saturday.

They did lose their focus in the third set after opening up a 5-2 lead, but played a near flawless tiebreak to seal the win on their first match point.

With the absence of Novak Djokovic, Viktor Troitski and Yanko Tipsarevich, the French were expected to enjoy a calm weekend in the northern city of Lille.

Arthur de Greef and Ruben Bemelmans will team up against John Peers and Jordan Thompson in doubles.

Frenchman Jo Wilfried Tsonga en route to victory over Dusan Lajovic of Serbia. Tsonga sealed a Davi Cup finals berth for

'It was surprising. Davis Cup doubles you usually see marathon five-setters, ' Thompson said. "They maybe did not have their best day, but John and I played exceptionally well and we got the result".

"We need one out of two matches tomorrow", said Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt.

David Goffin will open against 185th-ranked John Millman before Australia's top player, Nick Kyrgios, faces Steve Darcis. "We have full belief in that he can do a job for us". "We just prepare as we normally would but I'd much rather be 2-1 up than 2-1 down".

While France is favored to reach the final, the outcome of the other semifinal pitting Belgium against 28-time champion Australia on indoor clay looks more uncertain.

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