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Gasquet puts France ahead

CLERMONT-FERRAND (France): Richard Gasquet put host France ahead in its Davis Cup World Group first round tie against Romania with a straight set win over Victor Hanescu.

World No. 16 Gasquet came through 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 33 minutes against his 755th-ranked opponent. Gasquet had few problems with Hanescu, the 2005 French Open quarterfinalist who has plummeted down the rankings as a result of a back problem, and was playing just his second match since May 2006.

The Frenchman counted on a solid serve, not letting his towering 1.98m rival the slightest chance to break, committing just 14 enforced errors to the Romanian's 28.

Romania has only beaten France once in their previous seven meetings, in the 1974 semifinal in Bucharest.

Nadal pulls out

At Geneva, World No. 2 Rafael Nadal of Spain pulled out of his first match after injuring his right thigh during training. Fernando Verdasco, who replaced Nadal, lost to Switzerland's Marco Chiudinelli.

The results:

At Clermont-Ferrand (France): France 1 Romania 0 (Richard Gasquet bt Victor Hanescu 7-5, 6-2, 6-2).

At Geneva: Switzerland 1 Spain 0 (Marco Chiudinelli bt Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2).

At Minsk: Sweden 1 Belarus 0 (Robin Soderling bt Vladimir Voltchkov 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-1).

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