Classy France into Davis Cup final

PARIS: France captain Yannick Noah said he “is looking forward” to celebrate his defending Davis Cup champions’ seamless progress past Spain and into their second successive final on Saturday.
Veteran duo Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut secured France’s decisive win, beating Feliciano Lopez and Marcel Granollers 6-0, 6-4, 7-6 (9/7).
That gave the French an unassailable 3-0 lead, making Sunday’s two reverse singles academic.
“This is the best tennis I’ve seen from my team in three years,” beamed 1983 French Open winner Noah.
Noah was full of praise for his victorious doubles duo.
“The way my guys played today — they were so good,” said Noah.
“Benneteau was probably the best player on the court and his attitude was unbelievable.”
Benneteau had come out of retirement to serve his country on the hardcourt in Lille.
“It’s quite possible it could be the last match of my career on tour,” Benneteau said.
“And what a way to finish!”
But there seems every chance he will figure in next month’s climax to a competition that from next year becomes the Tennis World Cup.
Some fans in Lille wore black t-shirts as a form of ‘mourning’ at the passing of the Davis Cup in its present format.
A large banner was unfurled reading ‘Change it Back’.
France were left in command of the tie after wins in both of Friday’s opening singles.
Davis Cup rookie Benoit Paire gave the 10-time winners the perfect start with a 7-5, 6-1, 6-0 defeat of Pablo Carreno Busta.
Then Lucas Pouille’s nerve-jangling five-set victory — 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 — over Roberto Bautista-Agut made it 2-0.
Ramos salvages some pride
Albert Ramos won a meaningless point for Spain when he beat France’s Richard Gasquet on Sunday.
The reverse singles were played in a curtailed format and, after both players had won one set, Ramos took the match in a super tie-break, 1-6, 6-4 (14-12).
Nicholas Mahut of France faces Marcel Granollers in the final singles.— AFP