France makes Davis cup semis by beating Czech Republic 3-1  



Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overcame an early scare to win the opening reverse singles Sunday to give France a 3-1 victory over the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup quarterfinals.

Amid increased security following the deadly attack in the French city of Nice, Tsonga rallied to beat Jiri Vesely 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-5 and earn a spot in the Davis Cup semifinals for France for the second time in three years.

Tsonga said it was a team effort.

“This weekend we won with the group,” he said. “They played really well in the doubles and gave me the opportunity to finish, so today is the win of the group.”

France faces the United States or Croatia in the semifinals in September. Ahead of the reverse singles, the Americans lead 2-1.

The 10th-ranked Frenchman hit a big passing forehand to gain two break points in the 11th game of the fourth set and closed out the best-of-five series on his first match point on the indoor hard court in the eastern Czech city of Trinec.

The final singles was not played.

France has nine Davis Cup titles, but it last won in 2001. The French have played three finals since, most recently in 2014 when they lost to Switzerland after knocking out the Czechs in the semis.

“Since the start of the match everything was going wrong for me,” Tsonga said. “So many break points, so many balls to make it and I didn’t. So, at the end I said ‘you fight all along for the match and you deserve to win so you will make it.’ Finally the match turned but it was hard.”

Tsonga double faulted to give Vesely a break point in the fifth game of the opening set and the 50th-ranked Czech converted it. Tsonga wasted his two break points in the eighth game and hit the net on Vesely’s second set point.

Tsonga earned a set point at 5-4 in the second set with a backhand volley but wasted it before prevailing in the tiebreaker when Vesely served two straight double faults.

Vesely dropped his serve for the first time to trail 3-4 in the third set with Tsonga serving it out with one of his 45 winners.

“His forehand is lethal,” Vesely said. “It’s a huge weapon.”

Wimbledon doubles champions Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert fought past Lukas Rosol and Radek Stepanek 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 on Saturday to give France a 2-1 lead.

On Friday, Rosol beat Tsonga in a five-setter, and Lucas Pouille made a victorious Davis Cup debut by beating Vesely in straight sets.


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