France, the Defending Champion, Advances to the Davis Cup Final

18 Septembre, 2018, 03:25 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • French team with captain Yannick Noah right Lucas Pouille second right Richard Gasquet third right Benois Paire third left Julien Benneteau second left and Nicolas Mahut attends the Davis Cup draw Thursday Sept.13 2018 in Lille northern Fran

The French veterans, both aged 36, defeated Marcel Granollers and Feliciano Lopez 6-0, 6-4, 7-6 (7) on the indoor hard court set up inside the Pierre Mauroy soccer stadium.

"At this level, in a semi-final, it's all about who goes for it".

The US had to win to keep their World Group semi-final tie alive in Zadar after Croatia had won the opening two singles rubbers on Friday.

France, captained by 1983 French Open victor Yannick Noah, will meet either Croatia or the United States in the final.

Benoit Paire overcame nerves to win on his Davis Cup debut and Lucas Pouille won a five-set battle as the pair gave defending champion France a 2-0 lead over Spain in the semifinals on Friday. Despite the absence of Japanese talisman Kei Nishikori, the home side took an unassailable 3-0 lead in Osaka after Ben McLachlan and Yasutaka Uchiyama thrashed Tomislav Brkic and Nerman Fatic 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

Yet he has grown into a much more reliable and consistent performer in 2018 which prompted the champions' captain Yannick Noah to select him for his first tie at the unlikely age of 29 and he was rewarded with a virtuoso and merciless performance against an ailing opponent. "You can't wait for the mistake", Noah said.

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"We've decided that it should not be more than three rackets per set".

Bautista-Agut did his utmost to get Spain on the scoreboard, winning the first set of his match against Pouille and then staving off seven set points in the second set before finally losing a close tiebreaker.

Spain turned up in Lille without Rafael Nadal.

"We knew there was some risk in playing but I felt really good yesterday and made a decision to play", explained Carreno Busta.

Pouille and Bautista Agut fought for 3 hours, 41 minutes in the northern city of Lille. "But I felt it again and it was getting worse so that at 3-0, 4-0 in the second set I knew it was impossible to come back". The Frenchman was erratic at times and sharp at the end.

Still, Pouille was rewarded for his boldness, earning the key break at 4-4 in the fifth. "Let's wait until he breaks five or six rackets, you'll all love it and when you look at my face it'll be a amusing sight".

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