France win 10th Davis Cup title after Lucas Pouille thrashes Belgium's Steve Darcis in decider
By Sky Sports Tennis
Last Updated: 01/12/17 11:49am
France won their 10th Davis Cup title after Lucas Pouille beat Belgium's Steve Darcis in a decisive final rubber in Lille on Sunday.
Pouille's comfortable 6-3 6-1 6-0 victory gave the hosts a 3-2 win over their neighbouring rivals and a first title since 2001, following defeats in the final in 2002, 2010 and 2014.
France started the final day of singles with a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five tie, but David Goffin overcame Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-2 to take it to a decider.
Pouille, the world number 18, was never threatened by an opponent ranked 58 places below him and after taking the opening set, reeled off 12 unanswered games for an emphatic victory.
"There's nothing more beautiful than winning as a team in front of my friends and family. Now we're going to celebrate and enjoy it," said Pouille, born less than 50 miles away from the venue for the final in the north of France.
Pouille had been beaten convincingly by Goffin in Friday's first singles tie, but shook off that defeat to swat Darcis aside in just one hour and 34 minutes.
It was a third victory as captain for Yannick Noah, who returned for a third stint in charge in 2015 after two spells as skipper in the 1990s.
Noah, the last Frenchman to win a major tournament at the 1983 French Open, was vindicated in his selection after surprisingly picking Richard Gasquet to partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert for Saturday's crucial doubles victory.
"To have four different players win the three points is great," an emotional Noah said. "Everyone wanted this, we favoured the spirit of the group above individuals... I'm so happy."
Belgian hopes of claiming a first title in the venerable competition rested with their in-form number one Goffin, who downed Tsonga 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-2 after withstanding sustained early pressure.
World number seven Goffin, the runner-up to Grigor Dimitrov at the season-ending ATP Finals in London last weekend, snatched a 75-minute opening set with a blistering backhand return in the tie-break.
Tsonga, who brought France level in Friday's second singles with a crushing win over Darcis, then surrendered his serve in the second set with a costly double fault as Goffin surged 4-2 ahead before seizing a two-set lead.
Goffin stormed to a double-break lead in the third set as Tsonga's resistance crumbled and closed out the match with minimal fuss.
However, Darcis then quickly succumbed to Pouille's onslaught to allow the French to begin celebrations in front of their delirious fans.
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