Roger Federer’s dream of lifting the Davis Cup for Switzerland began to ebb away after the out-of-sorts world number two lost in straight sets to Gael Monfils, as France levelled at 1-1 ahead of the doubles.
With France’s double champion Julien Benneteau due to play alongside singles world number 26 Richard Gasquet, Les Bleus’ pairing are considered strong favourites to beat the Swiss, consisting of Marco Chiudinelli (world No 206 in doubles) and Michael Lammer (world No 528).
All this means that France’s price of 4/7 to take the Davis Cup on home soil is beginning to look a very good one, as Federer must yet go again when the singles rubbers are reversed on Sunday.
Swiss fears that Federer wouldn’t have properly recovered from the back injury which prevented him from competing in the ATP Tour Finals showpiece just five days prior to the Davis Cup came to bare.
Federer never settled as his movement looked restricted during a one-sided first set, before going onto lose to Monfils on the clay courts of Lille 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.
Playing on his favoured surface, Monfils’ virtually unrivalled athleticism is a match for anyone, let alone opponents carrying injuries.
Earlier in the day Swiss number two Stanislas Wawrinka had been very impressive in beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
There is potential that Swiss coach Severin Luthin chooses to shoehorn Stan into the doubles, though if he does this play, then his No 2 faces burn out against Monfils in his final rubber.
Federer would have been the natural choice to double up in previous ties, though carrying this injury he could wind up becoming the unexpected weak link which loses it.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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