【今日今期特马 _今年今期玄机跑马图】France pull one back in Davis Cup final through doubles victory

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PARIS, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- France maintained their hope of defending the Davis Cup title as Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut triumphed in the doubles through four sets in the northern French city of Lille on Saturday.

However, there is still an uphill challenge ahead for the 10-time winners, who are currently trailing from 2-1 down against Croatia into Sunday's reverse singles matches.

Herbert and Mahut, who had reached the doubles final at the ATP Finals last week, outclassed their counterparts Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) after three hours and 38 minutes.

Croatia were on the brink of winning their second Davis Cup through Friday's victories in singles matches by Borna Coric and Marin Cilic, but the hosts never lost their willingness to make a comeback into the title contention.

After the two pairs shared their service for 3-all in the opening six games, the Frenchmen registered their first break in the seventh before sealing the first set 6-4.

The second set went underway in a similar manner, as Herbert and Mahut had another break in the ninth game and bagged another 6-4 victory.

They went on to lead 3-1 in the third set, only to see their Croatian rivals bounce back strongly by winning five games in a row and forcing a fourth set.

The two pairs were involved in a tussle afterwards. Dodig and Pavic saved three match points in the 10th game, but finally failed to move further in the tiebreak.

Croatia will rely on Cilic and Coric again for another Davis Cup title after 60 5. Cilic is scheduled to face Jeremy Chardy, before the decisive rubber is put on between Coric and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga if needed, but both captains can change their lineups prior to that. Enditem