Perth - France's Richard Gasquet and Kristina Mladenovic overcame extreme heat to sweep Great Britain 3-0 and near the final of the Hopman Cup mixed-teams tournament on Wednesday.
In sweltering conditions, the duo were too good for Britain's Dan Evans and Heather Watson, winning both singles matches and the mixed doubles for their second successive win.
Gasquet and Mladenovic need to beat Swiss superstar Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic on Friday to be certain of topping their group and reaching Saturday's decider against the United States.
Mladenovic bounced back from a disappointing loss to Germany's Andrea Petkovic in France's first tie to grind down Watson 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 in the women's singles match.
As expected, world number 18 Gasquet was then too good for Evans, cruising through their encounter 6-4, 6-2.
Mladenovic and Gasquet then completed the rout with a 4-3 (5/4), 4-3 (5/2) win in the Fast Four mixed doubles rubber.
With the temperature passing 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), the 42nd-ranked Mladenovic turned up the heat on Watson, the world number 75, from the outset.
The Frenchwoman secured an early break and took the first set, however the Brit levelled the tie with a timely break of serve in the 12th game of the second set.
But Mladenovic broke twice to move to a 5-2 lead in the third set and, after being broken back, she broke again to seal the victory in 135 minutes.
Mladenovic said the conditions were tough, but also good preparation for the upcoming Australian Open.
"It was very hot," she said. "But it is the best preparation I can have when you come to Australia.
"I am happy I pulled through."
Gasquet then outclassed Evans and after some injury concerns late last year, the Frenchman was pleased with his early season form.
"It is always tough to beat him," he said. "I was very happy with how I played and I will take a lot of confidence from that."
Result from the Hopman Cup mixed-teams tennis tournament at the Perth Arena on Wednesday:
France bt Great Britain 3-0
Women's singles: Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) bt Heather Watson (GBR) 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
Men's singles: Richard Gasquet (FRA) bt Dan Evans (GBR) 6-4, 6-2
Mixed doubles: Mladenovic/Gasquet (FRA) bt Watson/Evans (GBR) 4-3 (5/4), 4-3 (5/2)