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Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka two good for France

Swiss pair battles hard to win doubles fixture and take 2-1 lead in Davis Cup final

Lille: Switzerland took a step towards their first Davis Cup title after victory for Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka in Saturday's doubles against France in Lille.

Reds hot: Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka (left) returns while teammate Roger Federer looks in the doubles rubber of their Davis Cup final against France at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, northern France on Saturday. Federer-Wawrinka won 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. Pic/AFP
Reds hot: Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka (left) returns while teammate Roger Federer looks in the doubles rubber of their Davis Cup final against France at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, northern France on Saturday. Federer-Wawrinka won 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. Pic/AFP 

Twenty four hours after losing his match in straight sets to Gael Monfils — a result that levelled the tie at 1-1 heading into Saturday's action — Federer teamed with Wawrinka for a 6-3 7-5 6-4 win over Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet in a match lasting just over two hours.

The Swiss got a break to go 4-2 up in the opening set to before winning it. With the French 6-5 down in a tight second set, Switzerland broke Gasquet to claim a 2-0 lead. Fans at the Stade Pierre Mauroy were hoping for a repeat of the 2010 Davis Cup final when current France captain Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra came from two sets down to win the doubles against Serbia.

With the score tied at 2-2 in the third set, the Swiss pair broke Benneteau before Federer held his own serve to put them 4-2 up and they held on to take the lead in the tie. Federer held serve to clinch the point for the visitors, who now lead the tie 2-1.

Federer (33) who had 17 grand slams to his name is now just one step away from a major honour in tennis that has eluded him. He will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Sunday's opener and if he fails win, Wawrinka will meet Monfils for the title decider.

On Friday, Wawrinka had given Switzerland the perfect start to the Davis Cup final against France yesterday by defeating French No 1 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the opening singles.

But later that night, Federer suffered his worst ever Davis Cup defeat clobbered 1-6, 4-6, 3-6 by fiery Frenchman Gael Monfils. Sidelined by a bad back for the five days leading into his first rubber, Federer had said on Friday night that he was listening to his body as Monfils bombarded him from all angles.

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