Published: Wed, November 28, 2018
Sports | By Sarah Myers

Mahut and Herbert give France hope for Davis Cup finale

Mahut and Herbert give France hope for Davis Cup finale

France triumphed in a must-win doubles fixture against Croatia in the Davis Cup final to keep their hopes of defending their title alive in Lille.

The French duo of Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert kept the tie going with their 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3) victory over the Croatian pair of Mate Pavic and Ivan Dodig in three hours and 38 minutes on Saturday evening.

Two launch parties were held on the scenario of owners of the court - Herbert and May in each set is made one break, and his serve played two break-point.

The second set was nearly the identical, Pavic and Dodig wasted a game point at 4-4 and they got broken at 15 in the following game, allowing the French squad to move two sets to love up after a commanding hold in game 10, just like in the opener.

Now under pressure, Herbert and Mahut had to save three more break points at the start of the fourth, and then did themselves no favours when they wasted three match points at 4-5, allowing Pavic and Dodig to fight back from 0-40 down.

But they settled down and broke Dodig in the seventh game, clinging on to their own to take the opening set 6-4.

France's Nicolas Mahut, right, and Pierre Hughes Herbert celebrate after scoring a point during the Davis Cup final between France and Croatia, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018 in Lille, northern France.

Should Chardy somehow upset Cilic, it will all come down to the final match between Tsonga and Coric.

So, France are back in the match but still face a big challenge. The French singles players looked out of their depths on Friday, casting doubt on the chances of a comeback in Sunday's reverse singles.

No team has recovered from 2-0 down to win the trophy since Australia beat the United States in 1939.

On the other hand, the Croats had to play against 11 break points and they suffered three breaks, overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the third set and giving their best to prolong the match as much as possible.

At 4-3 in the second set, Herbert would double-fault to give Croatia the first break-point of the second set but the visitors could not capitalise. Cilic is scheduled to face Jeremy Chardy, before the decisive rubber is put on between Coric and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga if needed, but both captains can change their lineups prior to that.

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