Argentina pull ahead of France with upset doubles win

BUENOS AIRES Sat Apr 6, 2013 6:10pm EDT

1 of 2. Argentina's David Nalbandian (rear) and Horacio Zeballos compete in their Davis Cup doubles quarter-final tennis match against France's Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra in Buenos Aires April 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Enrique Marcarian

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BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina came from a set down to upset favorites France in the doubles and take a 2-1 lead in their Davis Cup quarter-final at Parque Roca on Saturday.

David Nalbandian and Horacio Zeballos beat Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra 3-6 7-6 7-5 6-3 after a remarkable comeback from 5-2 down in the third set.

Zeballos, who had a poor opening set, lifted his game to complement experienced Davis Cup campaigner Nalbandian and stun the French pair who won only three of the last 14 games.

"I think we did a very good job today for Argentina. The conditions were very difficult as it was windy," former world number three Nalbandian said.

Llodra told the post-match news conference that Zeballos "had a very good fourth set, he played much more freely after the third. We knew he was capable of playing very well.

"We're better on fast courts. Today there was Little between us (the two pairs)."

French captain Arnaud Clement said there was still everything to play for in the two singles on Sunday.

"The two matches tomorrow will be just as hard to win for the Argentines," he told reporters.

"I'm still confident, we still have our chances to pass this round. If we want to win the Cup we have to be able to turn this situation around."

World number eight Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who won the opening point for France when he beat Carlos Berlocq in five sets on Friday, was scheduled to meet Juan Monaco in Sunday's first singles looking to save the tie for France.

"He was very, very solid (on Friday), he's had a day to recover and tomorrow he'll be in good shape for his match," Clement said.

Gilles Simon, who lost Friday's second singles to Monaco, is down to face Berlocq in the fifth rubber.

However Simon, chosen in preference to Richard Gasquet who has ankle trouble, complained of back pain during the second set on Friday and could be a doubt for Sunday.

Clement refused to commit himself on his choice for the fifth rubber, which could be critical for France, saying Simon was fit but a decision would be taken at a team meeting on Saturday night.

(Editing by Gene Cherry)

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