Davis Cup: Herbert and Mahut give France 2-1 lead over Italy

Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France, left, and Nicolas Mahut of France, right, celebrate at match point. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

GENOA, Italy — Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut beat Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 for France to lead Italy 2-1 in the Davis Cup quarterfinals on Saturday.

Herbert’s and Mahut’s constant net rushing proved too much to handle for the Italian pair, which fell apart late in the opening set.

Fognini missed an easy overhead smash and Bolelli served consecutive double faults when Herbert and Mahut broke to take the first set.

The French pair won the 2015 U.S. Open and 2016 Wimbledon titles together while Fognini and Bolelli won the 2015 Australian Open.

Fognini replaced Paolo Lorenzi in Italy’s doubles lineup.

In Sunday’s reverse singles on the outdoor red-clay court, Fognini faces Lucas Pouille, and Andreas Seppi meets Jeremy Chardy.

"Hopefully the boys can get the job done in the singles," Herbert said. "It’s going to be a great match with Lucas and Fognini."

Defending champion France is aiming for a spot in the last four for the third straight year.

Croatia wins doubles, leads Kazakhs 2-1 in quarterfinal

VARAZDIN, Croatia — Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic won their second Davis Cup doubles together from an early setback to put Croatia ahead of Kazakhstan 2-1 in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Dodig and Mektic beat Timur Khabibulin and Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in three hours on indoor clay.

The tie could be decided in the first reverse singles on Sunday, when former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic plays Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan. They won their singles on Friday. Cilic leads their matchups 2-1.

Dodig and Mektic fought back from a break down twice in the first set, but Khabibulin and Nedovyesov cruised through the tiebreaker.

Consecutive double faults by Khabibulin gave the Croatians the decisive break in the third game in the second. He lost serve again in the third game in the third. The Croats won five straight games in the fourth for 5-1 and sealed the win on their second match point.

Davis Cup: Germany beats Spain in doubles, leads 2-1

VALENCIA, Spain — Germany pair Tim Puetz and Jan-Lennard Struff held off Spain’s Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez to win 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (4), 7-5 and take a 2-1 lead in their Davis Cup quarterfinal on Saturday.

Puetz served out the final game of the doubles rubber after 4 hours, 40 minutes on the outdoor clay court in Valencia’s bullring.

Germany saved five break points in the fifth set before winning a break to go up 6-5 and finally defuse Spain’s comeback.

Top-ranked Rafael Nadal, who levelled for Spain on Friday, is set to play world No. 4 Alexander Zverev on Sunday, followed by David Ferrer faces Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Spain will need to win both reverse singles to keep alive its quest to equal Italy’s Davis Cup record of 29 home ties without losing from 1949-64.

Spain, which has won 27 home ties in a row, hasn’t lost as host since the first round in 1999 against Brazil.

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