France to face Croatia in Davis Cup final

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France defeated Spain 3-2 while Croatia sent out the United States also 3-2 in the semifinals of this year’s Davis Cup competition.

The matches were keenly contested affairs, which held over three days by tradition.

France won the first match rubber (match) when Benoit Paire took out Pablo Carreno-Busta 7/5; 6/1; 6/0 in under two hours.

On the indoor hard court of Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille, Benoit’s delivered 16 aces and amassed 106 points.

The second match was different. Hard-fighting Roberto Bautista Agut took the first set 6/3 but Lucas Pouille won a tight second set tiebreak by 7 points to 5, and the third set by 6/4.

Roberto fought gallantly to win the fourth but Lucas took the decider over four hours and 41 minutes. The Spaniard hustler actually won more points (166) than the Frenchman (163).

The doubles match featured veterans over 30 years of age.

At the end of a marathon, the French pair of Julien Benneteau (37) and Nicolas Mahut (36) defeated the Spanish team of Marcel Grannolers (32) and Feliciano Lopez (37), 6/0; 6/4; 7/6 to clinch the tie.

The remaining two matches on the third day were mere formalities, but Alberto Ramos Vinolas defeated Richard Gasquet and Marcel Grannolers defeated Nicolas Mahut.

In the second semifinal, the Americans were not only playing in the favoured surface of their opponents (clay) in Zadar’s Sportski Center, Visnjik, they were also without their strong player, John Isner.