LILLE, France (AP) — France and Serbia are level at 1-1 in their Davis Cup semifinal after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga dispatched 22-year-old debutant Laslo Djere in straight sets on Friday following Lucas Pouille’s shock defeat in the opening singles match.
Belgium and Australia are also tied 1-1 after the opening rubbers in Brussels.
Nick Kyrgios battled to down Steve Darcis 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-2 despite a buoyant home crowd at the Palais 12 after David Goffin produced a hard-fought win against John Millman to earn the hosts an early lead.
Kyrgios made 65 unforced errors but also hit 20 aces to prevail as fatigue took hold of the 33-year-old Darcis in the last two sets.
“Lleyton and I have put so much dedication into this, the Davis Cup has been my No.1 priority this year,” Kyrgios said, referring to Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt.
Goffin won a tight baseline battle that lasted 3 and 1/2 hours against Millman, triumphing 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (4) to extend his Davis Cup record to 14 wins from 15 matches.
In the absence of Novak Djokovic, Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic, the French were expected to enjoy a calm weekend in the northern city of Lille. But Dusan Lajovic made the most of Pouille’s inconsistent display to give Serbia a 1-0 lead on the red clay of the Pierre Mauroy Stadium.
The 80th-ranked Lajovic made a strong start and capitalized on Pouille’s mistakes to prevail 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5). The Frenchman never found the right tempo, made wrong tactical choices, and hit a total of 70 unforced errors.
Playing with the French Davis Cup team for the first time this season, Tsonga made a successful return in the team competition and won 7-6 (2), 6-3, 6-3.
In the other semifinal in Brussels, David Goffin produced a hard-fought win against Australian John Millman to earn the hosts an early lead. Goffin won a tight baseline battle that lasted 3 and 1/2 hours against Millman, triumphing 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (4) to extend his Davis Cup record to 14 wins from 15 matches.
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