Serbia kept alive their hopes of retaining the Davis Cup when Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki beat Juan Monaco and Juan Ignacio Chela 7-6, 6-4, 6-2 in Belgrade, on Saturday to leave them trailing 2-1 going into Sunday's singles.
The hosts will now be hoping World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who did not play in Friday's singles, can inspire a remarkable turnaround in the semi-final in the noisy Belgrade Arena which staged Serbia's triumph against France last year.
Djokovic, who claimed the US Open title on Monday, pulled out of his opening match against David Nalbandian with lower back and rib pain but is expected to be fit for Sunday's opening clash with Juan Martin Del Potro.
Games went with serve without a break point in a tight first set on Saturday, before a pair of volleys from Troicki settled the tiebreak and put the Serbs ahead.
Zimonjic and Troicki broke in the seventh game of the third set and sealed victory in two hours and nine minutes.
France take doubles to halt Spanish charge
Meanwhile in Cordoba, Spain, French doubles pair Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra thumped Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 on Saturday to ensure their Davis Cup semi-final will be decided by Sunday's singles.
Rafael Nadal showed little sign of post-US Open fatigue when he thrashed Richard Gasquet in Friday's opening singles rubber and David Ferrer followed up with a demolition of Gilles Simon to give the home side a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five tie on clay in Cordoba.
However, the powerful Tsonga and doubles specialist Llodra finally gave the blue-clad French support baking inside the converted bullring something to cheer with a dominant performance that clawed back a point for a 2-1 scoreline.
With World No. 2 Nadal and No. 5 Ferrer on blistering form on their favoured surface, Spain remain clear favourites to advance to December's final against champions Serbia or Argentina.
In Sunday's reverse singles, Nadal is due to play Simon and Ferrer will take on Gasquet.