ALICANTE, Spain -- Paul-Henri Mathieu
pulled off a remarkable 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory against Spanish
No. 1 Carlos Moya to give France a 1-0 lead on the opening
day of their Davis Cup semifinal on Friday.
Mathieu, ranked 71 places below Moya and playing on the
Spaniard's favorite clay-court surface, came back from 2-0 down
in the final set to lead 4-3, saved two break points to move 5-3
ahead and broke Moya again in the final game to complete an
Moya started badly, losing the first set in 48 minutes
and falling a break down in the second.
He pulled himself together to win the second and third sets,
but Mathieu clawed his way back to force a
decider via a break in game five of the fourth set.
Mathieu appeared to be wilting in the fierce heat at
Alicante's bullring as he fell 2-0 behind, but he fought back
once again and showed great maturity to complete the victory in four
hours 29 minutes with the vast majority of the 10,000 crowd
cheering for Moya.
In the second match, Ferrero attempted to erase Spain's deficit
quickly, winning the first two sets easily. In the third,
Frenchman Fabrice Santoro fought back to take the third, 6-1.
The match was eventually suspended due to poor light with the
score tied at 3-3 in the fourth. It will be completed on
Saturday before the scheduled doubles contest between Rafael
Nadal and Tommy Robredo of Spain and Santoro and Michael Llodra
The winners of the tie will play either the United States or
Belarus in the final.