Tokyo:Deadly doubles duo Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert fired favourites France into the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinals on Saturday.
Respectively ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the world, the formidable French aces proved too strong for Japan’s Yuichi Sugita and Yasutaka Uchiyama, winning 63 64 64, to give France an unassailable 3-0 lead with two singles rubbers to come on Sunday.
They will face Canada or Great Britain in the last eight of the World Group, in April.
Played at a fast and furious pace, the match had almost passed by the Japanese before they broke for the only time when Herbert was serving for the match at 5-2 in the third set.
Uchiyama then held to give the vociferous home fans something to cheer in Ariake Colloseum, before Mahut silenced them with a hold to love to make Sunday’s rubbers irrelevant.
It completed a rapid-fire victory for the French, following singles successes on Friday for Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon over Taro Daniel and Yoshihito Nishioka respectively, and meant that Japan did not even win a set across the three live rubbers.
France team captain Yannick Noah was in high spirits after the victory.
Japan were without world No.5 Kei Nishikori, absent due to what he termed a “packed schedule”, they were simply outclassed by the French, even though they were without their two highest-ranked players, Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.