France was through to the semifinals of the Davis Cup after a victory in doubles gave it an unassailable 3-0 lead against Germany here on Saturday.

Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overcame Philipp Petzschner and Christopher Kas in straight sets, 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-4, in a match that lasted 2hr 15min.

The French will now face either the United States or Spain in September's semifinals.

Sweden pulls one back

Meanwhile at Halmstad, Sweden defied Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic to record a doubles victory against holder Serbia and keep its hopes alive of making the semifinals.

Simon Aspelin and Robert Lindstedt gave the home crowd at the Halmstad Arena something to cheer about when they warded off elimination, at least until Sunday, with a 6-4, 7-6(5), 7-5 win over Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic.

Aspelin is playing his last Davis Cup, after announcing that he will retire following next week's Baastad tournament, but if Sweden can keep up its momentum on Sunday, he could yet be asked to stick around for the semifinals in September.

Sweden is missing their star player, Robin Soderling, and on Sunday Michael Ryderstedt, who was beaten by Viktor Troicki on Friday, can expect to face the mighty Djokovic.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina blanked Kazakhstan when Juan Ignacio Chela defeated Evgeny Korelev 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 and Juan Monaco beat Mikhaik Kukushkin 6-4, 6-1.

Spain, chasing its third trophy in four years, finished Friday's opening day in Austin, Texas, 2-0 ahead of the USA after world No. 6 David Ferrer defeated 10th-ranked hometown star Andy Roddick 7-6(9), 7-5, 6-3.

Spain, playing without the resting Rafael Nadal, had seized the lead in the opening singles when Feliciano Lopez outlasted eighth-ranked Mardy Fish in a four-hour showdown 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7(2), 8-6.

Roddick, who fell to 33-12 in Davis Cup singles, double faulted on the final two points of the match.

“I tried to win the entire match in the third set,” Roddick said. “If I lose at Wimbledon, it's on me. It's tough. I don't beat myself up over that, but when I let down my team, it hurts more. This loss hurts more than my selfish losses.”

The results:

At Stuttgart: Germany trails France 3-0 (Christopher Kas & Philipp Petzschner lost to Michael Llodra & Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-4).

At Halmstad: Sweden trails Serbia 2-1 (Simon Aspelin & Robert Lindstedt bt Novak Djokovic & Nenad Zimonjic 6-4, 7-6(5), 7-5).

At Buenos Aires: Argentina bt Kazakhstan 5-0 (Juan Ignacio Chela bt Evgeny Korelev 2-6, 6-2, 6-0; Juan Monaco bt Mikhaik Kukushkin 6-4, 6-1)

At Texas: U.S. trails Spain 2-0 (Andy Roddick lost to David Ferrer 7-6(9), 7-5, 6-3; Mardy Fish lost to Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7(2), 8-6). — Agencies

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