It was a long day for Jim Pugh and Rick Leach, but it could have been worse. They could have lost.
Pugh and Leach struggled more than four hours to beat Jorge Lozano and Leonardo Lavalle in a doubles match Saturday, giving the United States a 2-1 lead over Mexico in the Davis Cup World Group.
The U.S. pair won, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (7-3), 6-4, in 4 hours 24 minutes.
“Obviously it was very close,” Leach said. “It could have gone either way. We did not play our best tennis today.”
Play was often interrupted by rowdiness from the crowd and protests over calls, mostly from the Mexican players against Australian referee William McKewan.
At one point, chief referee Richard Long of Great Britain threatened to penalize the Mexican team one point because of Lavalle’s often heated arguments with McKewan.
Lavalle plays Jim Courier and Luis Enrique Herrera faces Gilbert in the final singles matches today. Mexico needs a sweep to advance.
Lavalle, 23, played much better than in his loss to Brad Gilbert on Friday, a match he said was his worst in Davis Cup play.
“We didn’t take advantage of the opportunity when we were ahead, 4-1, in the first set and also when we had a lead in the second,” Lavalle said. “That is why I say they are the best doubles players in the world, and they make you make a lot of mistakes.”
In Rennes, France, Henri Leconte and Guy Forget put France in the quarterfinals with a 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 doubles victory over Amos Mansdorf and Gilad Bloom of Israel. The victory gave France a 3-0 lead in the best-of-five match.
At Berlin, Boris Becker beat Martin Jaite, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4, and Michael Stich defeated Javier Frana, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, to give Germany a 2-0 lead over Argentina in the World Group quarterfinals.
At Prague, Goran Ivanisevic and Slobodan Zivojinovic beat Petr Korda and Milan Srejber, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-4, in 2 hours 12 minutes, giving Yugoslavia a 2-1 lead over Czechoslovakia.