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Davis Cup holders Spain facing defeat

Gael Monfils withstood David Ferrer's brave fightback to set France on their way to a 2-0 Davis Cup advantage.
Gael Monfils withstood David Ferrer's brave fightback to set France on their way to a 2-0 Davis Cup advantage.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Defending champions Spain are on the verge of crashing out of the Davis Cup
  • France take a shock 2-0 advantage in their quarterfinal in Clermont Ferrand
  • Russia and Argentina are locked together at 1-1 in their last eight showdown in Moscow
  • Bitter rivals Croatia and Serbia are also tied at 1-1 after their opening singles rubbers

(CNN) -- Defending champions Spain are on the verge of crashing out of the Davis Cup as France took a shock 2-0 advantage in their quarterfinal clash in Clermont Ferrand.

French number two Gael Monfils set the hosts on their way with a thrilling 7-6 6-2 4-6 5-7 6-4 four-hour victory over Michael Llodra.

And Michael Llodra then sent the home supporters into raptures with a stunning 6-7 6-4 6-3 7-6 success over Spain's world number 10 Fernando Verdasco.

France now just need to win one of the final three rubbers to beat Spain for the first time since 1923.

The winners of that match will face the winners of the tie between Russia and Argentina for a place in the final.

Honors were even after the opening day in Moscow with David Nalbandian -- who has slipped out of the world's top 100 after a succession of injuries -- giving the visitors a perfect start with a shock 6-4 7-6 7-6 triumph over Nikolay Davydenko.

RELATED TOPICS
  • Davis Cup
  • ATP World Tour
  • Tennis

However, the home side drew level when Mikhail Youzhny crushed Leonardo Mayer 6-3 6-1 6-4 in just over two hours.

Meanwhile, in Split, the grudge match between bitter rivals Croatia and Serbia is also locked together at 1-1.

World number two Novak Djokovic set Serbia on their way with a 7-6 6-4 6-1 win over Ivan Ljubicic but Croatia levelled matters when Marin Cilic easd past Viktor Troicki 6-4 7-5 6-2.

The winners look set to face the Czech Republic in the last four, after hosts Chile were completely outplayed in the opening two singles rubbers in the final quarterfinal.

Ivo Minar overpowered Nicolas Massu 6-0 6-2 6-3 in the opening match and Jan Hajek then produced an even more impressive display in a one-sided 6-0 6-2 6-1 victory over Paul Capdeville.