ROQUEBRUNE, France -- John Isner used his brutal forehand to dispatch Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 as the United States drew level with France in their Davis Cup quarterfinal on Friday. The Americans needed a strong performance from Isner after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had earlier withstood a spirited performance from 19-year-old Ryan Harrison to win 7-5, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 and give France a 1-0 lead. "I took to the court very confident," Isner said. "I played very well. Simple as that." Given Isners form, France coach Guy Forget thinks Saturdays doubles match between Bob and Mike Bryan and the French pair of Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra may determine the eventual semifinalist. Tsonga faces a tough match against Isner on Sunday, while Simon looks short of form. "The doubles will be decisive," Forget said. "Well be in a great position if we win. If we lose, it will be difficult." Given that the Bryans are the worlds top-ranked doubles pairing, and are unbeaten in Davis Cup since losing to France in 2008 -- when Llodra was partnered by Arnaud Clement -- Forget has plenty to worry about. "I hope Mika and Julien are feeling inspired," Forget said. "I will try and gee them up as much as possible." Simon, who was called up to replace the injured Gael Monfils this week, never looked like getting his first career win against Isner. "John did what he is supposed to do, which is to be emphatic and dominant," United States captain Jim Courier said. The 13th-ranked Simon could not cope with Isners big serve on outdoor clay at the Monte Carlo Country Club. "His second serve bounces up so high I almost prefer his first serve," Simon said. Isner hit nine aces and 53 winners and broke Simons serve four times. Simon, who is 0-3 against Isner, failed to convert any of his five break point chances. "I didnt really serve that great today," Isner said. "But my forehand was on and I was going for it. I wasnt holding back and that was the game plan." The 11th-ranked Isner took a grip on the match when a double break put him 4-0 up in the second set. With the crowd watching on in resignation, Simon got only a ripple of applause after finally holding to make it 4-1. The third set was more competitive, but Simon failed to take his chances when they came -- including one at set point. "Gilles had started to play better, and its never easy to close the match out against a player of his calibre," Isner said. "I had to save some break points. That third set could have gone either way." With Isner trailing 3-2 and 15-40 down in the sixth game, Simons two-handed backhand flew into the net. Isner was 30-40 on his next service game but saved break point with a clinical smash for 4-4. Simon kept chipping away and, when Isner missed an easy volley at the net, Simon got his chance to pull back a set with Isner on his second serve. But the American kept his cool, and his forehand winner down the line got him out of danger. "I had quite a few chances," Simon said. "But when you dont break once in a match, you end up with this kind of score." The momentum had turned back in Isners favour, and his volley on the run gave him break point in the 11th game. After some great defending at the net, he took it to lead 6-5 and easily closed out the match. Neither team is at full strength. Simon was a late call up for the injured Gael Monfils, while Harrison replaced ninth-ranked Mardy Fish when he pulled out with fatigue earlier this week. The sixth-ranked Tsonga found it tough at times against Harrison, ranked 66th and playing in his first meaningful Davis Cup match. "I had to battle and it worked out quite well for me," Tsonga said. The Frenchman took a laborious opening set in 54 minutes, then began to find his range as Harrisons temper frayed. "His major weakness is that he is very, very nervy," Tsonga said. "I knew that if I held on longer than him it would be to my advantage." Courier spoke with Harrison after the American smashed his racket into the ground following his double fault that gave Tsonga a 3-1 lead in the second set. He whacked it so violently that the frame bent into a right angle. "You dont want to snuff out someones fire," Courier said. "Ryan is a high energy guy." aaronrodgersauthenticjersey
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. Deborah Sharp Furlong died when the car she was driving in by herself collided with another vehicle on Thursday. She was vacationing in the southeast of the country. CHICAGO -- The Denver Nuggets 12th consecutive win didnt come easily or without controversy. While Andre Iguodalas 3-pointer with 7.1 seconds left in overtime will go down as the game-winning shot in the Nuggets 119-118 win over Chicago, the Bulls feel otherwise. "We felt like we got it stolen from us," Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said, referring to the play with 1.7 seconds left in which Chicago centre Joakim Noah grabbed a shot from teammate Marco Belinelli that was on its downward path to the basket and slammed it home. The officials initially didnt blow their whistles, but when Denver called an immediate timeout and loudly complained that it was goaltending, the referees reviewed video and disallowed Noahs bucket, sending the Bulls to their seventh loss in their last 11 games. "If we deem the ball in its descent has a chance to score, and therefore its in the cylinder, its either offensive basket interference or its goaltending, thats it," referee Ken Mauer told a pool reporter when asked about the game-deciding call. "Its a tough play," Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said, citing a similar play just before Noahs by Denvers Kosta Koufos that was not called by the officials. "From my angle, it looked like it was a good play, it looked like the ball was short," Thibodeau said of Noahs play. "Koufos, I know was on the rim, and to me I guess we have to call the league and get an interpretation. Maybe I dont understand the rule correctly." Noah was incensed. "Thats what is frustrating. How are you going to review that one, but you cant review the one two plays before it. ... I just know the refs are doing the best they can in those situations, but it cost us the game today, its disappointing." Denver coach George Karl didnt see it that way -- but with somewhat of a caveat about the similar circumstances surrounding Koufos play. "There is no question it was goaltending," Karl said of Noahs play. "The ball was going to hit the rim. I was too far away to see the play on Kostas tip-in shot." Wilson Chandler led the Nuggets with 35 points, Corey Brewer added 16 and Ty Lawson 13. Iguodala finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Andre Miller had 13 assists. Nate Robinson led Chicago with 34 points, Luuol Deng had 21, Belinelli scored 18, and Noah added 12 rebounds and 14 points.dddddddddddd It was the 12th time in the last 13 games that Denver scored 100 or more points, and marked the first time in seven games that an opponent has scored 100 points on the Nuggets. Denver started out strong, leading by as many as 14 points at several points, but Chicago kept pushing back, with the Bulls starters outscoring the Nuggets starters 104-48 mismatch. "Tonight, we were forcing it, we just didnt play well defensively," Karl said. "Im proud of the way we stayed strong especially at the end when we were down four and made the big shots. This was a difficult mental game because we let go of a lead in regulation where we should have won it." The Nuggets eight-point lead with 3:26 left in the fourth quarter evaporated, and Ty Lawsons last-second jumper fell short, sending the game into overtime. On the flip side, Karl was heartened that Denver got 71 points from its bench, including Chandlers outstanding play. "Anytime when we bring (Chandler) off the bench we seem to get an offensive spurt," Karl said. "I think he is our most efficient offensive person on the team. He also plays some good defence." Denver outscored the Bulls 21-20 in the first quarter and 53-45 at the half, but Chicago came back to outscore the Nuggets 28-26 in the third quarter and 60-52 for the second half. Even though his teams 12th consecutive win didnt come easy, Karl was happy to get out of Chicago with the win. "Nine (wins) in a row in January and now with 12, we know we can win and play anyone," Karl said. "Were building confidence. However, were just trying to get to a number like 54 or 55 wins. We believe there is value in every game. Were just doing a nice job coming together and building confidence." NOTES: The only member of the Nuggets who was alive the last time Denver won 11 straight games is point guard Andre Miller, who was four days away from his seventh birthday on March 15, 1983. ... Denver plays its 14th back-to-back on Tuesday at Oklahoma City before returning home to face Philadelphia (Thursday) and Sacramento (Saturday). ... Chicago, meanwhile, continues its homestand Thursday against Portland Trail Blazers. . Denver leads the series with Chicago 44-37. ' ' '