LONDON (AP) Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will meet at Queen’s Club on Friday in the first Britain-France tie in Davis Cup in 23 years.
Theirs will be the second singles, following James Ward vs. Gilles Simon, as drawn on Thursday.
Richard Gasquet, the Frenchman who went furthest at Wimbledon in reached the singles semifinals, was placed in a new doubles pairing with Nicolas Mahut. They will face Wimbledon doubles finalists Dominic Inglot and Jamie Murray on Saturday.
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Gasquet needed more rest, France captain Arnaud Clement said.
France, last year’s runner-up, is in the quarterfinals for the 14th time in 15 years, a period in which the British spent most of the time in the Euro-Africa zone.
Murray has a 10-2 win-loss record against Tsonga, including 4-0 on grass, although none of those matches were easy.
Murray beat Tsonga on the same Queen’s court in the 2011 final, and 2013 semifinals, and twice at Wimbledon. Tsonga won a set off him each time.
Tsonga was 16-5 in Davis Cup singles, though he’s never played a tie on grass, like all of the France team.
Simon and Ward will match up for the first time, but know each other well.
”I have practiced a lot with James for the last two years because our coaches are really close,” Simon said.
”I know what to expect tomorrow. It will be hard but I feel I’m ready for the match, and it will be a good one.”
Simon has a 5-9 record in Davis Cup singles, and only two of his five wins were in live rubbers.
But the highest-ranked Frenchman at No. 11 – Tsonga was 12th, Gasquet 13th – was the form grass player among them having made the semifinals at Queen’s Club, quarterfinals at Nottingham, and quarterfinals at Wimbledon, where he was rolled over by Roger Federer.
Ward played the same events and went 2-3. But he has been inspired by Davis Cup, where the British No. 2 has produced some of his best results, including a win over American John Isner from two sets down in March.
Against Inglot and Jamie Murray, France will gamble on Gasquet and Mahut, who have never played Davis Cup doubles together. Gasquet has played only one doubles on tour this year, while this will be only Mahut’s second tie.
The reverse singles on Sunday start with Andy Murray vs. Simon, followed by Ward vs. Tsonga.