Juan Monaco defeated Gilles Simon 7-6 (2), 6-2, 6-4 on Friday to give Argentina a 1-1 deadlock with France after the first two singles matches in the Davis Cup quarterfinals.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ensured France led 1-0 after the first singles, defeating Carlos Berlocq 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.
France has beaten Argentina in all five of their previous Davis Cup showdowns. The winner faces Kazakhstan or the Czech Republic in the semifinals. The Argentines are aiming to win their first Davis Cup title,
Simon was filling in for Richard Gasquet, who is out with an injured right ankle. But Monaco delivered when he had to, winning the critical first set in front of noisy home fans at the outdoor clay venue of Parque Roca on the outskirts of the Argentine capital.
Berlocq got back into the match in the fourth set by converting two of 10 breakpoint chances to force the deciding set. But Tsonga responded by breaking twice to close out the match in just under four hours.
"The idea was to hit power strokes on the forehand and make him run," Tsonga said.
The doubles are set for Saturday with David Nalbandian and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina facing Julien Benneteau and Michale Llodra. The reverse single are Sunday.
Argentina is without Juan Martin del Potro, who decided to skip the series to focus on ATP tennis.