Spain tumble to France in Davis Cup quarter-finals

Milan: Spain`s hopes of a hat-trick of Davis Cup triumphs ended when they fell 3-0 behind to France in Clermont-Ferrand after losing Saturday`s doubles rubber.

French duo Michael Llodra and Julien Benneteau beat Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez in four sets to give the hosts an unassailable lead in their quarter-final.

Llodra and Benneteau delighted the enthusiastic home crowd with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 7-6 win to earn France a first Davis Cup victory over Spain since 1923 and send captain Guy Forget`s team into the semi-finals.

Even without world number one Rafael Nadal, resting his knees after his French Open and Wimbledon triumphs, Spain fielded a powerful team but the writing was on the wall when they lost both of Friday`s singles.

Gael Monfils beat David Ferrer in five sets before Llodra saw off Verdasco 6-7, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6.

France will face the winners of the quarter-final between Russia and Argentina which the south Americans were leading 2-1 after Horacio Zeballos and Eduardo Schwank won Saturday`s doubles in Moscow against Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Kunitsyn.

Serbia edged 2-1 ahead of Croatia in Split when Janko Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic scored a crucial victory over Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig.

The Czech Republic were in a strong position to beat Chile after taking a 2-0 lead in Coquimbo in Friday`s singles.

Bureau Report