Australia, France on the brink of Davis Cup final

France is bidding for a first Davis Cup title since 2001, having lost three finals since with the most recent a defeat by Roger Federer's Switzerland in 2014 while Lleyton Hewitt's Australia last won the Davis Cup in 2003 when it beat Spain in the final.

France's Nicolas Mahut celebrates with Pierre-Hugues Herbert (back) after winning their Davis Cup semifinal tennis match against Serbia at the Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Lille.   -  AFP

 

France moved to within one win of the Davis Cup final as Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert's doubles victory on Saturday put it 2-1 ahead against Serbia in Lille. The home duo needed less than two hours to see off Nenad Zimonjic and Filip Krajinovic 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3).

That Yannick Noah's host has yet to book its place in the final is down to Dusan Lajovic's shock win in Friday's opening rubber against Lucas Pouille, although Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had levelled the tie by beating Laslo Djere.

Mahut and Herbert are an experienced doubles pairing who won the 2015 US Open and 2016 Wimbledon titles together.

They had far too much for Krajinovic and Serbia's 41-year-old player-captain Zimonjic, coming back from 5-2 down in the third set to wrap up the win in straights sets.

France is bidding for a first Davis Cup title since 2001, having lost three finals since with the most recent a defeat by Roger Federer's Switzerland in 2014.

In Brussels, Australia edged closer to a first Davis Cup final in 14 years on Saturday when Jordan Thompson and John Peers swept past Arthur De Greef and Ruben Bemelmans 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 for a 2-1 lead in their semi-final.

Lleyton Hewitt's Australia last won the Davis Cup in 2003 when it beat Spain in the final.

"We had a job to do today and we came out and did it from start to finish. Playing with Thommo and in front of this crowd and perform the way we did is just incredible," said Peers.

Nick Kyrgios can wrap up the tie for Australia on Sunday when he takes on fellow national number one David Goffin in the first of the reverse singles.

Kyrgios defeated Steve Darcis 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-2 on Friday while Goffin saw off John Millman 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-3, 7-5.