World No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga battled Carlos Berlocq for nearly 4 hours before claiming a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 win for France in the first match of the series. There was much less drama in the second, however, when Monaco defeated Gilles Simon 7-6 (7-2), 6-2, 6-4.
The series will be decided Sunday when Friday's winners -- Tsonga and Monaco -- play the first singles match. Simon and Berlocq are scheduled for the finale.
The series winner advances to the Davis Cup semifinals in September against either the Czech Republic or Kazakhstan. The defending Davis Cup champion Czech lead that series 2-0 after Friday's play.
Tsonga piled up six breaks, including two in the fifth set, in outlasting Berlocq.
Simon posted an early break against Monaco but Monaco later forced the tiebreaker. He didn't allow Simon another break-point chance the rest of the way.