ATP Tour

Tsonga leads France into Davis Cup SF

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (AFP)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (AFP)

Prague - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga sent France into the Davis Cup semi-finals after beating Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic on Sunday to hand his team an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the quarter-finals.

On the hardcourt of the Werk Arena in the eastern Czech steel hub of Trinec, world number 10 Tsonga beat 50th-ranked Vesely 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 7-5 in three hours and 28 minutes.

In their quest for the first Davis Cup title since 2001, France will now face either the United States or Croatia in the semi-finals.

In a clash of the teams' number-one players, the 23-year-old Vesely took the first set on a single break and both held on to their serves in the second, which went to Tsonga, 31, in a tie-break.

A dominant Tsonga then broke Vesely's serve for the first time to win the third set.

In the fourth set, Tsonga survived three break points in game six and broke again five games later to win the rubber.

"The game was extremely hard, he's a very experienced player," Vesely told the public Czech Television.

"It's harder to play when you're 2-1 down, I gave it my best, I felt much better today than on Friday, maybe because I had absolutely nothing to lose."

"I'm sorry about the second set, I played well and if I had managed to win maybe things would have been different, but it's hard to tell."

On Friday, the Czechs took the lead in the tie as world number 78 Lukas Rosol stunned Tsonga 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-4.

Lucas Pouille, ranked 21st, then swept Vesely 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 7-5 to put France level in his Davis Cup debut.

And in Saturday's doubles rubber, Wimbledon champions Mahut and Herbert beat Radek Stepanek and Rosol 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to hand France a 2-1 lead.

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England 160/6 (54.6 ov)
Pakistan 326
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England 160/6 (54.6 ov)
Pakistan 326
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