Last year’s winners France are just one win away from moving on to the semi finals of Davis Cup after a successful opening two days. Nicolas Mahut and Pierre Hugues-Herbert dropped just 8 games in a dominant performance to take the doubles rubber against another slam winning team in Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli, giving the French a 2-1 lead going into Sunday.
Friday saw the teams split rubbers with Lucas Pouille and Fabio Fognini picking up the wins for their respective teams as expected. The manner of the wins could have been far less stressful for both players though. Pouille was cruising through two sets before a unexpected surge from Andreas Seppi sent the match into a deciding set. The Frenchman managed to correct course in the fifth set, winning the last 5 games of the match to complete the 6-3 6-2 4-6 3-6 6-1 victory. “When you play a five-set match, you know it’s going to be long, you can be two sets up and he can come back. You’re going to have opportunities to lead again. I tried to fight as hard as possible and I’m very happy to get through this one.” said Pouille.
Fognini was down a set and a break but it was fairly comfortable for him from then on, as he turned a 6-7 0-2 deficit into an eventual 6-7 6-2 6-2 6-3 victory. This was despite him winning just 41% on 2nd serve and facing 16 break points overall. “When you are 1-0 down, you only think about winning the match. It was really difficult, especially the beginning. I was not feeling really well, but then I was feeling better and better so I’m happy for the victory.” Fognini said afterwards.
The winner of this tie will play either Spain or Germany in the semi finals. In the other half of the draw, USA are up 2-0 after John Isner and Sam Querrey victories while Croatia is surprisingly tied up after Day 1 thanks to Borna Coric’s surprise loss to Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan.