US wins doubles for 2-1 Davis Cup lead

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 06, 2012
Bob_bryan_and_6e80
Bob and Mike Bryan easily beat Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (4) Saturday to give the United States a 2-1 lead over France in their Davis Cup quarterfinal. The Bryans, the top-ranked doubles pairing, have not lost a Davis Cup match since 2008 and they were rarely troubled against a French pair that struggled to find any rhythm on the clay at the Monte Carlo Country Club. The French lacked aggression and were always up against it after losing their serve at the start of the first and second sets. The pressure in now on sixth-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win against 11th-ranked John Isner on Sunday, to give No. 13 Gilles Simon a chance of leading France to victory against Ryan Harrison, ranked 66th, in the last singles match. ''Jo is capable of beating him,'' France captain Guy Forget said. ''We're better ranked than them, so we have to go out and win.'' Although the French showed more fight in the third set, their defeat was comprehensive as the Bryans did not have to face a single break point. The tone was set from the start when Llodra's double fault gifted the Americans the lead, even though France had been 40-30 up in the opening game. Mike Bryan's crisp volley made it 2-0 and Benneteau had to save a break point in the next game. The last time the Bryans lost a Davis Cup match together was against France, four years ago, when Llodra was alongside Arnaud Clement. It never looked like happening again. The Americans were virtually impregnable on serve, holding to love in the sixth and eighth games, and took the first set when Llodra's return bounced out. Benneteau lost his serve at the start of the second set when his smash went out. With Mike Bryan serving next, the Americans briefly wobbled at 0-30, but Benneteau whacked a return into the net and then Mike Bryan clipped a volley down the line to quash the threat. Llodra held to love at the start of the third set to raise hopes a little, but it was not until the 10th game that they started to really generated any pressure, despite the crowd's best efforts to get them going. Benneteau planted a stinging return into Bob Bryan's feet on his second serve to make it 15-30, but the threat fizzled out. France was up 2-1 in the tiebreak but slipped quickly down to 5-2. Llodra's long forehand offered match point, which the Americans converted when Benneteau's backhand down the line sailed out.
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