New York:France sent a shiver through defending champion Russia after their Davis Cup quarterfinal
finished 1-1 through the opening singles.
Paul-Henri Mathieu upset Nikolay Davydenko 2-6, 6-2, 6-1,7-5 in the first match on indoor clay in Moscow on Friday, but Mikhail Youzhny battled through a sore knee and cramps to pip
Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-3, 6-7 (8), 5-7, 8-6 more than two hours after his first match point.
The United States, Sweden and Germany led their ties by an unsurprising 2-0, each with a chance to clinch semifinals berths in the doubles on Saturday.
The Americans had the upper hand on Spain in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Sweden was in control of Argentina at Goteborg, and Germany was continuing its mastery of Belgium in Ostend.
Mathieu made an inauspicious start to France's bid to end a 24-year losing streak to Russia, including the last two quarterfinals. He lost the first set quickly but started the second set 2-0 and continued to nick at Davydenko's wavering confidence.
The Frenchman dragged the world number four into long rallies and trapped him in the corners, leaving the court wide open.
"After 6-2 down in the first set, I tried to keep on going and play my game," Mathieu said. "I did my best and my victory gave confidence to my team."
Youzhny, the hero of Russia's maiden victory in the 2002 final, was hurt in the ninth game of the third set against Gasquet when he slipped, and needed to have his thigh and shin massaged in a medical time-out.