France win Davis Cup
Originally published on 26/11/17 00:00
Lucas Pouille sparked scenes of jubilation in Lille after thumping Steve Darcis 6-3 6-1 6-0 in a deciding rubber to give the hosts a 3-2 victory over Belgium.
The 23-year-old, entrusted by Yannick Noah to end Les Blues Davis Cup heartache, produced a fine all-court display to overcome his below par opponent, who appeared to be hampered by a right arm issue.
Pouille established a break of serve in the second game of the first set and the outcome was never in doubt from that moment onwards. Darcis’ shots lacked pace and depth – and his opponent gleefully exploited his weaknesses.
After a pulsating tie that ebbed and flowed, the fifth and final rubber lacked excitement. The capacity crowd inside Stade Pierre-Mauroy did not seem to care though, and they were simply thrilled to avoid a nerve-shredding climax.
Davis Goffin had earlier ensured a fifth and final rubber would be required by defeating a frustrated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(5) 6-3 6-2. The Belgian No.1 was outstanding for the duration of the contest, however his shotmaking exploits ultimately proved to be in vain.
Goffin won five of his six matches in the tournament this year but his admirable endeavours were not enough to prevent his nation from slipping to a second final loss in the last three years.