Davis Cup: Spain lead France 2-1

Spain has taken a 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup semi-final match against France in Alicante on Saturday.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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Spain came back to take the lead in their Davis Cup semi-final match with France in Alicante on Saturday when Juan Carlos Ferrero beat Fabrice Santoro 6-3, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 in a singles match. Then Rafael Nadal and Tommy Robredo beat Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement in a marathon five-setter in the doubles rubber 7-6, 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 in 3 hours and 47 minutes. France now needs to win both of Sunday's reverse singles to go through to the final. The match was poised at 3-3 in the fourth set, Santoro having come back from two sets down to take the third 6-1, before bad light ended play on Friday evening. The Frenchman created two break points in the first game of the day, but failed to convert and Ferrero grabbed his chance breaking himself to take a 5-3 lead with his own serve to come. The 23-year-old world number 25 then produced a wrong-footing cross-court backhand to win the match 6-3, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 and level the tie at one match all. Earlier, Paul-Henri Mathieu had defeated Carlos Moya 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 3-6 to give France a 1-0 lead. Crucial doubles tie Rafael Nadal and Tommy Robredo were hoping that Ferrero's win would give them the momentum to turn the tie on its head when they took on Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement in the doubles. The French pair rallied to break for 3-2 in the second set, closing it out to level the match when Nadal rifled a forehand long as Clement served at 5-4. However, Llodra and Clement were broken twice in the third set and Spain went ahead for the second time when a wild backhand volley from Clement sailed over the baseline. Victory seemed to be within the home side's grasp, especially when Nadal and Robredo broke again for a 2-0 lead. Robredo held for 3-0 and Nadal served out sending Spanish fans wild with a 7-6, 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 win in 3 hours and 47 minutes. Now Spain, who won the Davis Cup in 2000 and were runners-up in 2003, need just one point from Sunday's reverse singles. (AP)