France reach Davis Cup final as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beats Dusan Lajovic
France punched their ticket to the Davis Cup final when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Dusan Lajovic 2-6 6-2 7-6(5) 6-2 to give the hosts an unassailable 3-1 lead against Serbia on Sunday.
Playing on clay at Lille's Pierre Mauroy stadium, Les Bleus did not have it easy in their semi-final against a team deprived of former world number one Novak Djokovic as they set up a meeting against Australia or Belgium.
France were the heavy favourites against Serbia and they delivered despite unexpectedly losing the first point when Lucas Pouille lost to Lajovic on Friday.
France's players Nicolas Mahut, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Lucas Pouille, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and captain Yannick Noah hold a French flag after Tsonga fought back from a set down to book France a place in the Davis Cup final with a semi-final win over Serbia iGetty Images
French number one Tsonga, however, played solid tennis against Laslo Djere and Lajovic to give Les Bleus two points while grand slam champions Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert won their doubles against Filip Krajinovic and Nenad Zimonjic.
"It was an exciting tie and the mindset was perfect," said France team captain Yannick Noah.
France's player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (R) reacts with France's captain Yannick Noah after winning the Davis Cup World Group semi-final tennis match against Serbia at The Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Lille on September 17, 2017.Getty Images
"There were ups and downs but let's enjoy it. Being in the final was a dream."
France played their last final in 2014, losing in Lille to Roger Federer's Switwerland.
In the same arena, Tsonga was broken in the first game and he wasted a break point in the sixth game as Lajovic went 4-2 up in the potentially decisive reverse singles match.
Tsonga kept misfiring and he dropped serve again in the seventh game with Lajovic bagging the first set easily.
Jo-Wilfried TsongaGetty Images
Lajovic, however, was a little shaky in the second set and handed Tsonga a break when he double faulted. Tsonga sealed the set on his opponent's serve to level the match.
The Frenchman, 18th in the ATP rankings, served well in the third, just like world number 80 Lajovic, and the set was decided in a tiebreak. Tsonga opened up a 6-3 lead and clinched the set with a service winner.
Lajovic ran out of steam in the final set and Tsonga broke twice to send the home team through.