(Releads with Argentina victory)
* Unlikely hero Berlocq wins in four sets
* Argentina beat France for first time
By Rex Gowar
BUENOS AIRES, April 7 (Reuters) - Carlos Berlocq upset world number 13 Gilles Simon 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4 to hand Argentina a surprise 3-2 victory over France in their Davis Cup quarter-final on Sunday.
Argentina captain Martin Jaite’s team went through to a semi-final away to holders Czech Republic, the nation that beat them in Buenos Aires at the same stage last year.
World number eight Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had earlier bamboozled Juan Monaco 6-3 6-3 6-0 to bring France level at 2-2 and take the tie into the final rubber at Parque Roca.
“We were confident. We played against a very good team, we deserved to win... The fans were incredible,” Jaite said after Berlocq had thanked the crowd for lifting him in the more difficult moments with their passionate support.
Thirty-year-old journeyman Berlocq became an unlikely hero for Argentina in the absence of top 10 player Juan Martin del Potro.
Having given Tsonga a run for his money in a five-set defeat in Friday’s opening singles, Berlocq made a mockery of the rankings as he took the first and third sets against Simon before running up a 5-2 lead in the fourth.
Simon put up some dogged resistance at the end, saving five match points before Berlocq clinched it on the sixth for Argentina’s first win over France in six meetings.
Tsonga was too good for Monaco, who had surprised with his win over Simon in Friday’s second singles after a dismal start to the season.
Breaking Monaco in the Argentine’s first service game was enough for Tsonga to cruise to the first set and two more breaks gave him the second after fine shot placing and positioning at the baseline before a superb lob to seal it.
The deciding set turned into a nightmare for Monaco, who failed to take a point in the opening three games and only one in the next as Tsonga broke him almost at will.
“Every time I’ve played against Juan, it’s me who’s on the court and he is chasing the balls,” Tsonga told a news conference.
“He doesn’t have the weapons to destabilise me, make me run. He regularly plays the diagonal (shots), I don’t need to be explosive, just position myself well.” (Editing by Mark Meadows; firstname.lastname@example.org; +44 20 7542 7933; Reuters Messaging:; email@example.com)