US leads 2-1 over France in Davis Cup quarterfinal

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By JEROME PUGMIRE, Associated Press

ROQUEBRUNE, France (AP) — Bob and Mike Bryan defeated Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (4) Saturday to give the United States a 2-1 lead over France in their Davis Cup quarterfinal.

The Bryans, the top-ranked doubles team, have not lost a Davis Cup match since 2008. They were rarely troubled against a French pair that struggled to find any rhythm on the clay at the Monte Carlo Country Club.

"We were ready for a dogfight," Bob Bryan said. "I thought we did a great job of not letting the crowd get too loud."

On Sunday, No. 11 John Isner faced sixth-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in singles. Teenager Ryan Harrison, ranked 66th will play No. 13 Gilles Simon.

"Jo is capable of beating him," France captain Guy Forget said. "We're better ranked than them, so we have to go out and win."

Tsonga looked shaky at times when he beat the inexperienced Harrison in four sets on Friday. Isner's huge serve and dominant forehand present a much bigger threat than Harrison's shot-making.

"He wanted to play on clay, now we must go and get the win. We all have our duties and responsibilities," Forget said. "It's a heavyweight contest between two big hitters."

On Saturday, the French pair lost their serve at the start of the first and second set. Although they showed more fight in the third set, the Bryans did not have to face a single break point.

The United States trailed 2-1 in the tiebreaker, but quickly rallied for a 5-2.

Llodra's long forehand offered match point, which the Americans converted when Benneteau's backhand down the line sailed out.

"We both served at a high percentage, that's always key," Mike Bryan said. "We're good frontrunners, so we played hard."

Forget was disappointed with how his players approached the match, and said they lacked composure.

The tone was set from the start when Llodra's double fault gifted the Americans the lead, even though France had been 40-30 up in the opening game. Mike Bryan's crisp volley made it 2-0 and Benneteau had to save a break point in the next game.

The last time the Bryans lost a Davis Cup match together was against France, four years ago, when Llodra played alongside Arnaud Clement.

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