In the next game, Dodig would double-fault to give France the break. Herbert played aggressively and Mahut raised his game on important points, hitting a service victor in the fourth game of the opening set to deny Croatia's sole break chance in that set.
Dodig and Pavić made the most of a faltering Herbert serve to take the third set and force a fourth. Dodig and Pavic saved three match points in the 10th game, but finally failed to move further in the tiebreak.
Chasing an 11th title, France is back in the final but still faces a big challenge. Their singles players looked out of their depth on Friday, casting doubt on the chances of a comeback in this afternoon's reverse singles.
Noah deflected questions about whether Jo-Wilfried Tsonga would be fit enough to play in Sunday's singles against Borna Coric.
The odds are still stacked in Croatia's favour as no team has recovered from 2-0 down to win the trophy since Australia beat the United States in 1939. The French were represented by Pierre-South Herbert and Nicholas Mahut, who last week reached the final at the Final tournament in a dramatic fight he lost to Jack some Juice and Mike Bryan. They broke for a 4-3 lead in the opener following a series of aggressive returns which put Dodig on the back foot.
The second set was nearly the identical, Pavic and Dodig wasted a game point at 4-4 and they got broken at 15 in the following game, allowing the French squad to move two sets to love up after a commanding hold in game 10, just like in the opener.
The pressure was on Herbert and Mahut from the start as the noisy home crowd urged them to fight back after Friday's defeats and there were early signs of nerves as they both struggled to hold their service. Croatia would save 3 match points when Pavić served out from 0-40 down at 5-4. He turned toward the French supporters and gestured as if to ask them to make more noise.
The Croatian pair fell short in the tie-break, though, Mahut earning two more match points with a blistering serve and then showing lightning quick reactions at the net to get the job done, sparking exuberant celebrations. Mahut converted the first match point with a fine reflex volley.