France routs Spain in Davis Cup doubles, trail 2-1

September 17, 2011 - 11:35 AM
Spain France Tennis Davis Cup

France's Michael Llodra, top, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in action against Spain's Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco during their doubles tennis match in a Davis Cup semi-final in the bullring in Cordoba, Spain, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Sergio Torres)

CORDOBA, Spain (AP) — Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra led France past Spain in Saturday's doubles to cut their Davis Cup semifinal deficit to 2-1.

Tsonga and Llodra made easy work of Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco, converting a break point on their first chance and never looked back to secure a 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 victory at Cordoba's bullring.

While Spain was on the receiving end of a drubbing Saturday, the four-time champion can still clinch its place in the final on Sunday when Rafael Nadal is scheduled to face Gilles Simon in reverse singles on the outdoor clay.

France captain Guy Forget may opt to play Tsonga against Nadal because teams can make a change up to one hour before matches. Tsonga is the only French player with repeated wins over Nadal (2-5), although the pair have never met on clay.

Nadal hasn't lost a singles Davis Cup match since losing in his debut in 2004, racking up a 17-1 record that includes 13-0 on clay. The six-time French Open champion has lost only five of his last 100 matches on clay.

While France was routed in singles on Friday, a refreshed Tsonga provided the perfect complement with French doubles specialist Llodra.

Both Lopez and Verdasco struggled with their serve throughout and the French shrugged off the 100-degree temperatures for seven break points to none for Spain.

The Spaniards hit 19 winners to the visitors' 41, and the 10th-ranked Tsonga closed out the rout with the pair's ninth ace of the day.

In the other reverse singles match on Sunday, David Ferrer is scheduled to play Richard Gasquet.