France are still alive in the Davis Cup final after winning the doubles rubber with Croatia on Saturday to reduce the arrears to 2-1. The Croatian pair of Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic knew victory would hand them the Davis Cup following wins in Friday’s singles by Marin Cilic and Borna Coric.
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However, it was Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert who came out on top in a tense battle at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille.
The experienced duo secured a 6-4 6-4 3-6 7-6 (3) victory although France must also win both reverse singles matches on Sunday in order to defend their title.
No side has come back from 2-0 down to lift the trophy since Australia beat the United States in 1939 but the hosts have given their fans some hope.
Things threatened to get out of hand in the stands at one point on Saturday, with rival fans trying to outsing each other as the match ebbed and flowed, but it was Yannick Noah’s duo who prevailed once the umpire had restored order.
Around 20,000 vociferous fans are expected to turn up on Sunday and it remains to be seen if they can lift their heroes to create history.
Noah is certainly not giving up hope – even if he knows their backs are still against the wall. “This is a wonderful present,” he said courtside after the game. “It’s not over, we have a chance. We are not the favourites but we are still in there.”