Doubles win keeps French hopes alive at Davis Cup final

France's Nicolas Mahut and Pierre Hughes Herbert, bottom, in their Davis Cup final against Croatia's Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic, Saturday, Nov. 24, 201

France's Nicolas Mahut and Pierre Hughes Herbert, bottom, in their Davis Cup final against Croatia's Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic, Saturday, Nov. 24, 201

France's Nicolas Mahut, right, and Pierre Hughes Herbert celebrate after scoring a point during the Davis Cup final between France and Croatia, Saturd

France's Nicolas Mahut, right, and Pierre Hughes Herbert celebrate after scoring a point during the Davis Cup final between France and Croatia, Saturd

Mate Pavic of Croatia, bottom, returns the ball to France's Nicolas Mahut, right, and Pierre Hughes Herbert during the Davis Cup final between France

Mate Pavic of Croatia, bottom, returns the ball to France's Nicolas Mahut, right, and Pierre Hughes Herbert during the Davis Cup final between France

France's team captain Yannick Noah clenches his fist during the Davis Cup final between France and Croatia, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018 in Lille, northern

France's team captain Yannick Noah clenches his fist during the Davis Cup final between France and Croatia, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018 in Lille, northern

Croatia's Ivan Dodig, left, and Mate Pavic talk during the Davis Cup final between France and Croatia, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018 in Lille, northern Fran

Croatia's Ivan Dodig, left, and Mate Pavic talk during the Davis Cup final between France and Croatia, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018 in Lille, northern Fran

France's Nicolas Mahut, right, and Pierre Hughes Herbert return the ball to Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic of Croatia during the Davis Cup final between Fr

France's Nicolas Mahut, right, and Pierre Hughes Herbert return the ball to Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic of Croatia during the Davis Cup final between Fr

Croatia's Ivan Dodig, left, and Mate Pavic in their Davis Cup final between France and Croatia, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018 in Lille, northern France. Cro

Croatia's Ivan Dodig, left, and Mate Pavic in their Davis Cup final between France and Croatia, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018 in Lille, northern France. Cro

LILLE, France (AP) — Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert kept French hopes alive in the Davis Cup final with a 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) win over Croatia's Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic in the doubles on Saturday.

Croatia, chasing its first Davis Cup title since 2005, headed into the second day of the final with a 2-0 lead over the defending champions after its singles players Marin Cilic and Borna Coric outplayed Jeremy Chardy and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, respectively, in straight sets and without conceding a single break of serve on the opening day.

On the indoor clay court installed at the Pierre Mauroy stadium in northern France, the script changed dramatically during a pulsating doubles match.

Dodig and Pavic had only a few chances in the first two sets. Herbert played aggressively and Mahut raised his game on important points, hitting a service winner in the fourth game of the opening set to deny Croatia's sole break chance in that set.

The Croatian pair gradually found its rhythm and made the most of Herbert's sudden dip of level on serve to force a fourth set. Pavic saved three match points with consecutive big serves in the 10th game but the hosts played solid tennis in the tiebreaker to prevail.

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