2014-01-31 11:42 PM
PARIS (AP) -- Richard Gasquet had little trouble beating teenager Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (3), 6-2, 6-2 to give France a 1-0 lead against Australia in their first-round Davis Cup tie on Friday.
Gasquet, ranked ninth in the world and France's No. 1 player, was a heavy favorite against a player ranked 162nd, but the 18-year-old Kyrgios competed well in a tight first set where neither player offered a chance on their serve.
He broke Kyrgios' serve twice in the second and third sets and clinched victory on his third match point when Kyrgios' backhand down the line landed just wide.
"The first set was really important for me and then I felt better and then my backhand started to work better," Gasquet said. "It's my best shot so if I want to win games it has to function properly."
Later, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga faced Lleyton Hewitt. The 10th-ranked Tsonga leads the former two-time Grand Slam champion 3-0 in their head-to-heads.
Gasquet clinched the first set on his opponent's serve when Kyrgios' backhand hit the net.
Kyrgios saved break points in his first two service games of the second set but Gasquet broke him in the fifth and seventh games, with the Australian making more unforced errors, before serving out the set.
"Richard was very solid, he controlled the first set and then stepped it up a gear," France captain Arnaud Clement said.
It is the first meeting between the nations since the 2001 Davis Cup final in Melbourne, which France won for its ninth and last title.
Australia has an impressive 28 titles but none since 2003.