France reach Davis Cup final after Tsonga beats Lajovic

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LILLE, France (Reuters) – France won a place in the Davis Cup final when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Dusan Lajovic 2-6 6-2 7-6(5) 6-2 to give the hosts an unassailable 3-1 lead over Serbia on Sunday.

Playing on clay at Lille’s Pierre Mauroy stadium, Les Bleus did not have it easy in their semi-final against a team deprived of former world number one Novak Djokovic as they set up a final against Australia or Belgium.

France were the heavy favorites against Serbia and they delivered despite unexpectedly losing the first point when Lucas Pouille lost to Lajovic on Friday.

French number one Tsonga, however, played solid tennis against Laslo Djere and Lajovic to give Les Bleus two points while grand slam champions Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert won their doubles against Filip Krajinovic and Nenad Zimonjic.

“It was an exciting tie and the mindset was perfect,” said France team captain Yannick Noah.

“There were ups and downs but let’s enjoy it. Being in the final was a dream.”

Tennis – Davis Cup – Semi-Final – France vs Serbia- Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille, France – September 17, 2017 France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrates winning his match against Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

France played their last final in 2014, losing in Lille to Roger Federer’s Switzerland.

In the same arena, Tsonga was broken in the first game and he wasted a break point in the sixth game as Lajovic went 4-2 up in the potentially decisive reverse singles match.

Tsonga kept misfiring and he dropped serve again in the seventh game with Lajovic bagging the first set easily.

Lajovic, however, was a little shaky in the second set and handed Tsonga a break when he double faulted. Tsonga sealed the set on his opponent’s serve to level the match.

The Frenchman, 18th in the ATP rankings, served well in the third, just like world number 80 Lajovic, and the set was decided in a tiebreak. Tsonga opened up a 6-3 lead and clinched the set with a service winner.

Lajovic ran out of steam in the final set and Tsonga broke twice to send the home team through.

Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Rex Gowar and Clare Fallon

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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