France leads Spain, 2-0
Lille, France — Benoit Paire overcame nerves to win on his Davis Cup debut and Lucas Pouille won a five-set battle as the pair gave defending champion France a 2-0 lead over Spain in the semifinals on Friday.
Paire beat Pablo Carreno Busta 7-5, 6-1, 6-0 on the indoor hard court at Stade Pierre Mauroy before France's No. 1 player Pouille defeated Roberto Bautista Agut 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
"It's well deserved," France captain Yannick Noah said. "Benoit wore out Carreno Busta then we saw a crazy match, with a lot of unexpected developments, Lucas was fantastic."
Spain is without top-ranked Rafael Nadal, who was ruled out because of the right knee injury that forced him to retire from his U.S. Open semifinal against Juan Martin del Potro last week.
Pouille and Bautista Agut fought for 3 hours, 41 minutes in the northern city of Lille. The Frenchman was erratic at times and sharp at the end. He had 52 winners and 87 unforced errors but played the more aggressive tennis in the decider, serving extremely well on important points. /