September 14, 2017 / 10:58 AM / 7 days ago

France wary of Serbia in Davis Cup despite Djokovic absence

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 2, 2017. France's Lucas Pouille during his third round match against Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Reuters/ Benoit Tessier/Files

LILLE, France (Reuters) - France cannot take anything for granted in their Davis Cup semi-final against Serbia even though the visitors will be without Novak Djokovic, team captain Yannick Noah said on Thursday.

French number two Lucas Pouille will kick off the tie on Friday when he takes on Dusan Lajovic in the first singles match. Friday’s action will be completed with a second singles match between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Laslo Djere.

“We try to be clear-headed and be aware that the tie will still be difficult,” Noah told a news conference.

“It’s not easy because almost everyone thinks it will be a formality.”

Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, fifth in the ATP doubles Race, face Filip Krajinovic and Nenad Zimonjic in Saturday’s doubles.

The reverse singles will take place on Sunday.

In the absence of Djokovic, who ended his season prematurely because of an elbow injury, world number 80 Lajovic is Serbia’s best-ranked player.

The tie is being played on clay at Lille’s Pierre Mauroy stadium.

Pouille and Lajovic have a 1-1 head-to-head record but the Frenchman has won their only encounter on the slow surface, last year in Bucharest.

Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Pritha Sarkar

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