Sydney | France squeeze out Norway to make SF

France won a thrilling deciding mixed doubles match Thursday evening to clinch a 2-1 victory over Norway and clinch a place in United Cup semi-finals in Sydney.

Caroline Garcia played a leading role in securing the French a place in the last four as she set the ball rolling with a 6-2 6-7(6) 7-6(5) victory over Malene Helgo in the first singles after Casper Ruud had levelled for the Norwegian’s by comfortably dispatching Adrian Mannarino 6-1 6-4, returned to partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin to win the deciding mixed against Ulrikke Eikeri and Casper Ruud 7-5 6-4.

That deciding rubber proved a tight affair until the French broke through for 6-5 and then holding to secure the opening set.

They took another strong set towards victory when they took a 2-1 lead in the second.

“Tomorrow is going to be a day off. We are not that young anymore, especially me,” playing captain Roger-Vasselin, 40 said.

“Tomorrow will just be a day off, try to rest, enjoy Sydney maybe and then come back strong for Saturday’s semi-final.”

World number 20 Garcia looked on course for a straightforward win after cruising through the first set and getting to match point in the second set’s tiebreaker, but Helgo, ranked 544 in the world, rallied to make things difficult for the Frenchwoman.

“It was a crazy match. Malene was a player I didn’t know but she just hit the ball so well,” Garcia said. “I went through all the emotions out there and I had to find a way through. Today it was almost too much, but in the end, I got the point.

“It’s only the third match of the season and I’m exhausted already!”

In contrast world number 22 Mannarino had simply no answer for Ruud’s clinical game and the Frenchman only avoided a ‘bagel’ by holding his last service game of the first set, but he did improve in the second.

France will now face Poland, the title favourites, in Saturday’s semi-final in Sydney while Greece and Germany play on Friday to decide who will take on Australia in the other semi-final.






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