Herbert/Mahut Win Tie For France
Nitto ATP Finals champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut completed the French comeback Thursday at the Davis Cup Finals, defeating Tomas Machac and Jiri Lehecka 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to secure a 2-1 victory against Czech Republic in Group C.
The pair saved four of five break points and hit five aces in Innsbruck, Austria, to win the tie for France after two hours and five minutes.
“It was difficult because the Czech team played very well, and we arrived late from Turin,” Mahut said. “I thought we had a slow start, but the second set and third set we played well.”
"We got used to the conditions,” Herbert added. “We needed the whole staff to get the energy up and we tried to be really positive and we managed to turn the match around.”
Machac had given Czech Republic an early advantage when he sprung a surprise, defeating Richard Gasquet 7-6(3), 6-2 on his Davis Cup Finals debut.
The World No. 143 rallied back from a break down in the first set and committed just seven unforced errors to secure victory after one hour and 36 minutes in their first Head2Head meeting.
“It feels really good,” Machac said. “I am so happy I played today and won today for the Czech Republic. It was a really tough match from the beginning, mentally especially. I am really happy. In the tie-break I played really well without any mistakes. That was the crucial moment.”
Adrian Mannarino then drew France level, downing Jiri Vesely 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-2. The 33-year-old won 77 per cent (51/66) of his first-serve points and caused Vesely problems with his consistent depth on return to secure victory after two hours and 38 minutes.
“I was trying my best to keep fighting,” Mannarino said. “I served very well in the key moments, which helps. I got used to the speed of his serve. He was serving very fast and at the beginning it was tough. On his second serve at the end, I was putting a lot of pressure on it.”