Gael Monfils beat Switzerland’s Roger Federer to draw France level at 1-1 in the Davis Cup final in Lille.
Federer, who pulled out of Sunday’s ATP World Tour final, was beaten 6-1 6-4 6-3 in front of a Davis Cup record 27,432 fans at the indoor clay court.
Stan Wawrinka beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1 3-6 6-3 6-2 in the opening singles rubber to give Switzerland a 1-0 lead.
The best-of-five contest features a doubles match on Saturday before the reverse singles on Sunday.
Analysis from BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller
|“With the support of a world record sized crowd to feed off, and sensing an opportunity against an opponent physically below his best, Gael Monfils was magnificent from the start. He served two aces in the opening game and dictated throughout – hitting 41 winners to record a comprehensive victory.|
|“Stan Wawrinka was equally impressive for Switzerland in the opening match of the day, despite the anxiety he felt at the extra responsibility on his shoulders.”|
The doubles match pits the hosts’ Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet against Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer.
France have not won the Cup since 2001, while Switzerland have never won it.
However, the Swiss made the perfect start with Wawrinka winning 25 points at the net and sealing victory with a volley on his first match point.
The French hit back though, with Monfils winning the first point of his match against Federer with an ace, one of nine he sent down in a first set that raced by in just 31 minutes.
A break in the fifth game of the third set saw Monfils, who had never previously beaten Federer on clay, open an advantage that he capitalised on with a backhand drive down the line at match point.
France have won 10 of their previous 12 Davis Cup ties against Switzerland and have won the title on 10 occasions.