Tennis

France tops Israel to reach quarters

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ROUEN, France (AP)

France beat Israel 7-6 (3), 6-1, 6-0 in the doubles on Saturday for an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the Davis Cup first-round match and a place in the quarterfinals.

After Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet won their singles on Friday, Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra had little trouble brushing aside Israel's makeshift pairing of Jonathan Erlich and Dudi Sela after a competitive first set.

The only danger for France came when Benneteau swiped a forehand from the back of the court that just missed Llodra's head before landing in to give France its first match point. Benneteau missed an easy smash at the net but Llodra's ace on the next point sealed victory.

France captain Arnaud Clement may now change his line up for Sunday's reverse singles.

A backhand winner down the line and a smash from Llodra gave France a 2-0 lead in the first-set tiebreaker, and the French moved 5-2 up with two aces from Benneteau.

The match became easier for the French as the Israeli pair struggled on serve.

In the fourth game of the second set, Erlich double faulted to give France its first break of serve and a 3-1 lead. The French broke the Israeli pair again to go 5-1 up and Benneteau held to love to clinch the second set.

Erlich lost his serve again at the start of the third set, Llodra then held easily, and Benneteau's aggressive strokeplay helped secure yet another break as France raced 3-0 ahead and took complete control.

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