France advances to Davis Cup quarterfinals

The Associated Press
France advances to Davis Cup quarterfinals
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France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, foreground, gets encouragements from teammates, during his single match against Australia's Lleyton Hewitt, in the first round of the Davis Cup between France and Australia, in La Roche sur Yon, western France, Friday Jan. 31, 2014. France leads 2-0 at the end of the first day.(AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

LA ROCHE-SUR-YON, France (AP) -- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet beat Lleyton Hewitt and Chris Guccione 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-2, 7-5 to give France an unassailable 3-0 lead over Australia and a spot in the Davis Cup quarterfinals on Saturday.

Hewitt and Guccione were previously undefeated in the Davis Cup as a doubles team, but Tsonga and Gasquet overpowered them by hitting 21 aces to 4, and 74 winners to 38.

The Australians rallied from a 3-0 deficit and won the opening set when Hewitt hit a return winner off Gasquet's serve. However, Guccione failed to serve out the second set at 5-3 as the match turned in France's favor.

''If we could have gone up two sets to love, it could have been a different story,'' Hewitt said.

In the tiebreaker, the French team jumped to a 6-3 lead after Guccione netted a backhand volley and Tsonga slapped a forehand winner. Tsonga fired an ace to level at one set apiece.

The French pair did not face any break points in the third and fourth sets. The hosts went a set up when Gasquet whipped a forehand pass down the middle and won the match when Gasquet hit a powerful backhand that Hewitt could not return.

''It's a feeling of accomplishment,'' Tsonga said. ''We played three good matches. We played unbelievable again today.''

On Friday, Tsonga cruised past Hewitt 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (2), and Gasquet routed Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (3), 6-2, 6-2.

France will face Germany in the quarterfinals while Australia will compete in the playoffs to stay in the World Group.