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13 February 2012

French captain sets sights on USA


NEWS ARTICLE

By 

  • Jeff Paterson

Photo: Antoine CouvercelleCaptain Guy Forget and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)

VANCOUVER, CANADA: Guy Forget and the French team took care of Canada last weekend in Vancouver, but they’re not finished with North American opponents in this season’s Davis Cup by BNP Paribas. After defeating the Canadians 4-1 in the World Group first round, France will now face USA in the quarterfinals in April.

Led by world No. 6 Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, who posted straight sets victories in both of his singles matches, and aided by the fine doubles play of Michael Llodra and Julien Benneteau, heavily-favoured France had too much depth and firepower for Canada. And Forget will need his top gun to lead the way into the next round.

“Jo did the job,” Forget said of his top player following the completion of the tie. “He brought into the team two points and they were very precious at that stage and now we’re on to the next round.”

The quarterfinal match-up with the Americans will be a battle between two long-standing tennis rivals. It will be the 16th time the two countries have faced each other in Davis Cup play with USA holding an 8-7 edge.

While his focus was on the court in Vancouver and his country’s match up with Canada, Forget was like many in the tennis world who were taken aback by the way the Switzerland-USA tie unfolded.

“We were all very surprised because we know how difficult Davis Cup can be sometimes, the United States winning 3-0 after Saturday, none of us could think of that situation,” Forget said.

“You have to give credit to Jim (Courier) and all his guys because apparently they played unbelievable. The conditions were maybe a bit difficult for the Swiss, but they chose the surface and the altitude in Friebourg. But with Mardy Fish, John Isner and the doubles, there guys have a lot of experience. They were really aggressive from what I heard and they played great tennis.”

But Guy Forget’s team played solidly, too, setting up a quarterfinal showdown that should produce outstanding tennis. After winning on the road in Canada, France will now be the host country for the tie with USA, and Forget says his team will be ready for that battle.

“In Davis Cup anything can happen and that’s why we took this tie here very seriously,” he explained. “We look forward to playing the Americans at home. We don’t know yet where or what surface we’ll be playing on, but we look forward to a very hard match.”

The survivor of the France-USA tie will advance to September’s semifinals to face either Spain or Austria, who meet in Spain.

Captain Guy Forget (FRA) - 12/02/2012

Captain Martin Laurendeau (CAN) - 12/02/2012

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    • Captain Guy Forget and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra (FRA)
    • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)French team
     
 
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    Jeff Paterson

    Jeff is a reporter with Team 1040, Vancouver’s all-sports radio station, and a columnist for the weekly Georgia Straight newspaper. He has covered a number of major international competitions in Vancouver over the years including the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, National Hockey League and Canadian Football League games, PGA Tour’s Canadian Open and World Figure Skating Championships.

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