French lead Germans 2-0 in Davis Cup battle

Frankfurt, Germany ( - Team France picked up big wins from former top-10 stars Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon on Friday, as the visitors grabbed a commanding 2-0 lead in their best-of-five opening-round Davis Cup tie against Germany.

First up on Day 1 was Simon, who had to go the distance to stave off game German Jan-Lennard Struff, 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-7 (1-7), 6-2, 10-8, in 4 hours, 24 minutes.

Both players refused to drop service games in the final set before that trend was bucked in the 17th game by the Simon, who then held his own serve to get the first point of the weekend.

Monfils followed that dramatic affair by handling Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) in the nightcap.

Saturday's doubles rubber tentatively pits a French team of Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut against a German tandem of Benjamin Becker and Andre Begemann.

Sunday's reverse singles have the world No. 14 Simon taking on the 28th-ranked Kohlschreiber and the No. 19 Monfils tangling with the 74th-ranked Struff on the indoor hardcourt at Frankfurt's Fraport Arena.

France is captained by former Australian Open runner-up Arnaud Clement, while Germany is guided by Michael Kohlmann.

The Germans and French are meeting in a rematch of a World Group quarterfinal from last year.

Looking to put an end to a 76-year losing streak against France, Germany won both singles rubbers on Day 1 last year only for the host French to roar back from 0-2 down for just the fourth time in their history.

The Germans have not defeated their European counterparts since 1938, but they are on a three-tie winning run at home, including a victory over Spain in the first round last year.

The France-Germany winner will meet the Great Britain-United States victor in a July quarterfinal.

The nine-time champion French are 8-2 all-time versus the three-time titlist Germans in this storied competition.

France lost to visiting Switzerland 3-1 in last year's Davis Cup finale in Lille.