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Tsonga, Gasquet give France 2-0 lead against Israel

12:19 PM, Feb 1, 2013   |    comments
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Rouen, France (Sports Network) - French stars Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet were a pair of opening singles winners Friday, as host France jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Israel in a best-of-five opening-round Davis Cup affair.

The world No. 8 former Australian Open runner-up Tsonga topped unknown Israeli Amir Weintraub 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in the first rubber on Day 1 and the 10th- ranked Gasquet blew past Dudi Sela 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in 1 hour, 50 minutes in the nightcap.

Tsonga is now 11-3 lifetime in his Davis Cup singles, while Gasquet improved to 7-7.

Saturday's potentially tie-clinching doubles match will pit a French tandem of Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra versus an Israeli pairing of Sela and Jonathan Erlich, while Sunday's reverse singles currently call for Tsonga to meet Sela and Gasquet to take on Weintraub.

The tie is being staged on an indoor hardcourt at Rouen's Kindarena.

Team France, seeking its first title since 2001, is led by first-year captain Arnaud Clement, while the heavy underdog Israel is guided by Eyal Ran.

The nine-time champion French are 3-0 all-time against Israel, with their last meeting coming back in 1998.

The France-Israel winner will move on to face the Argentina-Germany victor in April.

The Sports Network

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