Serbia and France won their Davis Cup quarterfinals on Saturday to set up their first match since the 2010 final.
France will host the semifinal in September, and will hope leading stars Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils, and Richard Gasquet are fit and available to face Novak Djokovic and Co, who beat them in the 2010 final 3-2 in Belgrade.
France hasn’t won the Davis Cup in 16 years.
Even without its leading trio, France swept aside an Andy Murray-less Britain 3-0 for the loss of one set. That set was conceded on Saturday as Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut defeated Dominic Inglot and Jamie Murray 7-6 (7), 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 in Rouen on an indoor clay court.
Serbia put away Spain by an unassailable 3-0 in Belgrade after Viktor Troicki and player-captain Nenad Zimonjic beat Pablo Carreno Busta and Marc Lopez 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0, 4-6, 6-2 in three hours.
Australia and Belgium failed to clinch their quarterfinals when they lost their doubles.
The United States stayed alive in Brisbane when late substitute Jack Sock and Steve Johnson beat Sam Groth and John Peers 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.
Belgium was denied by Italy in Charleroi, where Simone Bolelli and Andreas Seppi defeated Ruben Bemelmans and Jons De Loore 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (6) in nearly four hours.
Britain competed better in the doubles than it did in the singles on Friday, but Benneteau and Mahut had something extra. On one point, Mahut jumped over the fence to return a smash, and played the next return on top of the front row of spectators.
Their win, and Jeremy Chardy’s on Friday, justified captain Yannick Noah’s disputed selections. Mahut ran into Noah’s arms after the win.
”It’s really incredible, it gives you goosebumps,” Benneteau said of the win. ”Whether you’ve won 15 Grand Slams or none, playing in front of your country like this is incredible. It’s magical, fabulous.”
Serbia reached the semifinals for the first time in four years, and Troicki won his second point of the quarterfinal against Spain after carrying Zimonjic for the first two sets. They lost the fourth set but broke twice early in the fifth to secure victory.
”I am glad there was to be no final twist in the fifth set as it was an emotionally and physically exhausting encounter,” Troicki said.
Sock lost his singles on Friday in Brisbane, but replaced Sam Querrey in the doubles and came through for U.S. captain Jim Courier.
But Sock is scheduled to play the first reverse singles on Sunday, against Nick Kyrgios.
”I’m super proud of these guys today,” Courier said, ”but it still will take a monstrous effort from us on Day 3.”
The winner faces Belgium or Italy in September.
Belgium had a match point to win the doubles and the quarterfinal in the fifth-set tiebreaker, but the Italians saved it and won the last three points.
Belgium can clinch the tie on Sunday in the first reverse singles, when David Goffin plays Paolo Lorenzi. Goffin won their only previous match in 2014.