Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (Sports Network) - The 2012 Davis Cup quarterfinal between host France and the United States commenced Friday, as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga handled event rookie Ryan Harrison to give the French a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five showdown.
Playing in the beautiful setting at the famed Monte Carlo Country Club, the world No. 6 Tsonga displayed his firepower and got the hosts going with a predictable 7-5, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 three-hour victory over a game Harrison on the Americans' least-favorite surface, red clay.
Tsonga tallied a whopping 36 more winners (60-24) than Harrison, won 76 percent of the points when he came to the net, and broke his American counterpart seven times on Day 1. Playing in his first live rubber in Davis Cup play, Harrison hurt his own cause with a sloppy 10 double faults.
The 19-year-old Harrison joined the U.S. squad this week when ninth-seeded Mardy Fish pulled out of the prestigious competition, citing extreme fatigue. France's world No. 14 Gael Monfils also pulled out this week, because of an injury.
Harrison made his Davis Cup debut in Switzerland back in February, winning a dead rubber in the Americans' stunning 5-0 whitewash of a Roger Federer-led Swiss contingent in Fribourg.
Tsonga-Harrison will be followed Friday by a bout between 11th-ranked American John Isner and Gilles Simon. Sunday's reverse singles currently call for the 6-foot-9 Isner to battle the former Australian Open runner-up Tsonga and Harrison to take on the world No. 13 Simon.
Saturday's doubles in the southeast corner of France will pit the world No. 1 twin Bryan bothers, Bob and Mike, against a French duo of Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra.
Team USA is captained by former No. 1 star Jim Courier, while long-time mentor Guy Forget guides the hosts.
The 32-time champion U.S. is 8-7 all-time versus the nine-time winner France, as the two storied Davis Cup nations first met way back in 1905. The Americans last won the title in 2007, while the French last hoisted the chalice in 2001.
In their last meeting, the U.S. topped France 4-1 in a 2008 quarterfinal.
The United States-France winner will advance to the semifinals to face either reigning champion Spain or Austria.