Buenos Aires, Argentina – David Nalbandian and Horacio Zeballos rallied from a set down for a doubles victory over Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra to give Argentina a slight edge over France in their Davis Cup quarterfinal.
Nalbandian and Zeballos earned a 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, 6-3 win on Saturday to give the host nation a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five tie.
Juan Monaco, a straight-set winner over Gilles Simon in the second of Friday's opening singles matches, will have the first chance to clinch it for Argentina on Sunday against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Tsonga was a five-set winner on Friday against Carlos Berlocq.
Simon, a late replacement for the injured Richard Gasquet, and Berlocq are slated for the fifth, and possibly deciding, rubber.
Argentina is a bit depleted as well, competing without world No. 7 and former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, who had also declared himself unavailable for the Argentines' opening-round tie against Germany in February.
Nine-time champion France is a perfect 5-0 all-time versus Argentina in Davis Cup play, dating back to 1952. The French prevailed 5-0 in their last meeting in a World Group semifinal in Lyon in 2010. France is also 1-0 in Buenos Aires, with that victory coming 31 years ago in the opening round.
France last won the Davis Cup in 2001, while Argentina is still seeking its first-ever title, having finished as a runner-up on four occasions, including as recently as 2011.
The Argentina-France winner will meet the Czech Republic-Kazakhstan victor in the semifinals in September.