France survive scare to beat Japan in Davis Cup

  • Posted: Nov 19, 2019
2019 Davis Cup finals
Venue: Caja Magica, Madrid Dates: 18-24 November
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from Wednesday, 20 November; Live text coverage on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.

French pair Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert came from behind to win a deciding doubles tie in a 2-1 victory over Japan at the Davis Cup finals.

The Australian Open champions beat Ben McLachlan and Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 7-5 in a dramatic third set.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Uchiyama 6-2 6-1 in the opening singles match before world number 10 Gael Monfils lost 7-5 6-2 to Yoshihito Nishioka.

Last year’s runners-up France take on Serbia on Thursday.

  • Innovation or sacrilege? What you need to know about the new Davis Cup

On a more positive note for Japan, leading singles player Kei Nishikori, who was ranked eighth in the world in October when he underwent surgery on his right elbow, posted a video of himself on social media holding a racquet “for the first time” since picking up the injury.

Elsewhere in Group E, the Netherlands – Great Britain’s opponents on Wednesday – lost 2-1 to Kazakhstan after Robin Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer were beaten 6-4 7-6 (7-2) in the deciding doubles match by Alexander Bublik and Mikhail Kukushkin.

Haase, ranked 163rd in the world, had earlier come from behind to beat Bublik 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7-5) in his singles match after Dutch compatriot Botic van de Zandschulp lost 6-2 6-2 to Kukushkin.

And in Group C, Argentina beat Chile 2-0 thanks to victories from Guido Pella and Diego Schwartzman in both singles matches.

Pella, ranked 25th in the world, beat Nicolas Jarry 6-4 6-3 in the opening match of the day on centre court before Schwartzman’s 6-2 6-2 win over Cristian Garin.

“It’s the end of the season but I think I played one of the best matches for sure of the year, maybe in my career,” said Schwartzman. “I think Guido [Pella] helped me a lot to be more confident and I played unreal tennis.”

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The new format

Eighteen nations are split into six groups of three, with the group winners and two best-placed runners-up progressing to the quarter-finals.

The two semi-finals will be played on Saturday, 23 November with the two winners going through to the final on Sunday, 24 November.

The six groups
Group A: France, Serbia, Japan Group B: Croatia, Spain, Russia
Group C: Argentina, Germany, Chile Group D: Belgium, Australia, Colombia
Group E: Great Britain, Kazakhstan, Netherlands Group F: United States, Italy, Canada
Which of the world’s top 20 are playing?
Rafael Nadal (Spain) [1] Fabio Fognini (Italy) [12]
Novak Djokovic (Serbia) [2] Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) [14]
Matteo Berrettini (Italy) [8] Denis Shapovalov (Canada) [15]
Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain) [9] Karen Khachanov (Russia) [17]
Gael Monfils (France) [10] Alex de Minaur (Australia) [18]
David Goffin (Belgium) [11]

Schedule – who plays when?

Group stage: Monday, 18 November – Thursday, 21 November

Quarter-finals: Thursday, 21 November – Friday, 22 November

Semi-finals: Saturday, 23 November

Final: Sunday, 24 November

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