FRANCE OVERCOMES GOFFIN HEROICS AS POUILLE GIVES HOST NATION IT’S 10TH DAVIS CUP TITLE

Written by: on 26th November 2017
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France vs Belgium
FRANCE OVERCOMES GOFFIN HEROICS AS POUILLE GIVES HOST NATION IT'S 10TH DAVIS CUP TITLE

epa06352771 Lucas Pouille of France celebrates winning his single match and the Davis Cup Final between France and Belgium at the Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France, 26 November 2017. EPA-EFE/YOAN VALAT  |

By Ricky Dimon

 

France’s depth and its home-court advantage proved to be the difference in the 2017 Davis Cup final. Four different players earned points for France this weekend as the home team held off Belgium 3-2 for its 10th career title in tennis’ team competition–and first since 2001.

 

Leading 2-1 heading into Sunday, the Frenchmen were pushed to a deciding fifth rubber after Belgian star David Goffin took down Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-2. Lucas Pouille, however, came to the rescue and destroyed Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 in just one hour and 34 minutes to give France the trophy.

 

A red-hot Goffin captured titles this fall in Shenzhen and Tokyo while also finishing runner-up at the year-end championship, where he defeated both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Belgium. despite being an obvious underdog, always figured to have a chance in the Davis Cup final with the world No. 7 on its roster. And he did not disappoint, preceding his Sunday rout of Tsonga by dismantling Pouille 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 in Friday’s opening rubber. Tsonga took care of Darcis 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 before a crucial doubles showdown on Saturday saw Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Richard Gasquet get the best of Belgium’s Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4.

 

Goffin briefly gave momentum back to the visitors when he trounced Tsonga in two hours and 44 minutes on Sunday afternoon.

 

“It’s a disappointment even if I played two good matches,” Goffin admitted. “When the team loses we’re all disappointed. We gave it our all. It’s tough to finish this way, but we did a lot of good things as a team this year.’’

 

Belgium simply didn’t have enough firepower from top to bottom, essentially featuring a one-man team. France, on the other hand, got points from Tsonga, Pouille, Herbert, and Gasquet. And this is a nation that had the likes of Gael Monfils, Gilles Simon, and doubles specialist Nicolas Mahut on the bench.

 

The Frenchcaptured their first Davis Cup title in 16 years, having last lifted the trophy following a thriller of a 2001 final in Australia.

 

“French people were waiting for more than 15 years for this–that’s a long time with the team we have, with so many good players,” Mahut commented. “Year after year we were losing and finally we have [the title]. For me, it’s a special week and we need time to really appreciate the moment. We waited for so many years to get the trophy back in France.”

 

“I’m so emotional right now,” Pouille explained. “To play in front of this crowd, in front of my family, my friends…. It’s a feeling from another world.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

 

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