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Israel whitewashed by France

    Israel were on the receiving end of an embarrassing whitewash in their Davis Cup World Group match against France in Rouen.

    Their hopes were dealt a blow before the action started when Andy Ram pulled out of the doubles match due to injury.

    Rising star Amir Weintraub was the only Israeli to win a set in any of the five matches. But he had no answer to the power of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, going down 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.

    Dudi Sela was outclassed 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 by Richard Gasquet.

    France clinched the match after game three, when Michaël Lodra and Julien Benneteau overcame Jonathan Erlich and Sela 7-6 (7-3), 6-1, 6-0.

    Noam Okun earned a run-out in the fourth match, a dead-rubber, won 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) by Lodra, and it was left to Gasquet to complete the 5-0 success with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Weintraub.

    Israel coach Eyal Ran said: "We did the best we could but it was never going to be enough. I’m proud that we are back in the World Group and now we must prepare for the relegation playoff."

    Nine-times winners France will travel to Argentina in the quarterfinals on April 5.

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