It wasn't the best possible start for the home nation in the Davis Cup final at Stade Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Lille, as David Goffin defeated Lucas Pouille to send Belgium into an early lead, but Jo-Wilfried Tsonga took care for the 1st point for France against Steve Darcis.
Today, France moved closer to its 10th Davis Cup title thanks to a 3-1 doubles victory that Richard Gasquet and Pierre-Hugues Herbert claimed over Rubem Bemelmans and Joris De Loore. French team celebrated by 6-1 3-6 7-6 6-4 in 3 hours and 3 minutes to earn the second point for their country, and they have to win 1 singles rubber on Sunday to win the first crown since 2001.
It was a very solid battle from set number 2 until the very end, and it could have gone to either side, with the Belgians serving for the third set at 5-4. Playing for the first time together, Gasquet and Herbert broke back and won the set in the tie break to gain 2 sets to 1 lead, and they brought the match home with a break in the 7th game of the 4th set.
French pair fired 13 aces and 8 double faults and they made the difference with their second serve. They needed all their skills and experience to steal that 3rd set, saving 6 out of 7 break points and converting the only one they created.
Bemelmans and De Loore had 12 break chances in total but they managed to break their rivals just 3 times, unable to use the momentum they gained after the second set and take 2 sets to 1 lead. Frenchmen took the opening set by storm, everything worked well for them and they kicked off the match with a 5-0 advantage, closing the opener 2 games later.
Set number 2 was decided in the middle games, Bemelmans and De Loore scored breaks in games 4 and 6 and that was enough for a 6-3, despite dropping their serve in game 5. Belgians were now the better players on the court and they converted the 7th break point in in the 7th game of the third set to move 4-3 in front, looking good to take an overall lead.
They served well in the first 4 service games but Bemelmans was unable to bring the set home with his serves in game 10, Gasquet and Herbert broke back to 5-5 and that shifted the momentum to their side of the net, winning the tie break by 7-2 to regain the lead.
They saved 2 break points in the 6th game of the 4th set and the crucial moment occurred in the following game when they scored a precious break to take the full control over the scoreboard. Both Gasquet and Herbert served at love in the last 2 service games to deliver a big win for the home nation, who enters the Sunday's rubbers as the favorite to win the first Davis Cup title in 16 years.
3rd rubber result: