Mahut and Herbert keep France’s Davis Cup hopes alive

Davis Cup Final Draw- France v Croatia

Davis Cup Final Draw- France v Croatia

However, there is still an uphill challenge ahead for the 10-time winners, who are now trailing from 2-1 down against Croatia into Sunday's reverse singles matches.

Now under pressure, Herbert and Mahut had to save three more break points at the start of the fourth, and then did themselves no favours when they wasted three match points at 4-5, allowing Pavic and Dodig to fight back from 0-40 down.

After the two pairs shared their service for 3-all in the opening six games, the Frenchmen registered their first break in the seventh before sealing the first set 6-4.

Mahut and Herbert took the last set 7-6 to claim France's first victory in the tie and halve the Croatians advantage. Dodig and Pavic saved three match points in the 10th game, but finally failed to move further in the tiebreak.

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Chasing an 11th title, France is back in the final but still faces a big challenge. The French singles players looked out of their depths on Friday, casting doubt on the chances of a comeback in Sunday's reverse singles. If Chardy manages to earn his third victory over Cilic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Borna Coric will contest a live fifth rubber for the trophy.

In 1939, Australia became the first nation to achieve the feat, recovering from 0-2 down to defeat the United States.

Mahut and Herbert have lost just one match together in the Davis Cup - against Croatia two years ago. They broke for a 4-3 lead in the opener following a series of aggressive returns which put Dodig on the back foot.

Serve was king again in the second, but France crucially saw off break point in game eight before breaking in the next game and going on to see out the set. Serving at 4-5 to keep Croatia in the match Mate Pavic fends off three match points with some incredible serves and the set went into a tie break where every point carried extreme importance.

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