ZADAR, Croatia, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Croatia took a big step towards securing a Davis Cup final spot when Ivan Dodig and Marin Cilic beat Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-6 (6) 5-7 7-6 (6) 6-3 in the doubles to take a 2-1 lead on Saturday.
The 2015 U.S. Open champions Mahut and Herbert are the world's top-ranked pair.
Richard Gasquet, who won the first semi-final point for France on Friday, now takes on Cilic in Sunday's reverse singles while Lucas Pouille plays Borna Coric.
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Mahut and Herbert wasted three consecutive break points in the opening set before the Croats won the tiebreak when the latter sent a forehand long.
The French pair bounced back in the second set thanks to a break in the 11th game but Dodig and Cilic continued to look more solid and accurate. The visitors saved a break point in the 12th game of the third set only to then lose another tiebreak.
It was one-way traffic from then on as the Croatian duo broke for a 2-1 lead in the fourth set and wrapped up victory on Herbert's serve, the Frenchman burying a volley into the net.
The winners will take on Britain or Argentina. The South Americans lead 2-1 in Glasgow.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Tony Jimenez)