Defending champions France booked their place in the Davis Cup final once again after Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut won their doubles match today in straight sets.
The 6-0, 6-4, 7-6 win over Spain’s Feliciano Lopez and Marcel Granollersat the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille secured an unassailable 3-0 win in the semi-final after Benoit Paire and Lucas Pouille each won their singles rubber’s yesterday.
It was thought the match today would be close, but in reality it turned into a French show of strength as Benneteau, who’s just retired from singles competition, and Mahut brushed aside their opponents in the first two sets before eventually prevailing in a little over two hours.
The first set was so one-sided that the Spaniards won just four points and it lasted just 18 minutes.
It went from bad to worse for Lopez at least in the second, who ended up with a black eye after being hit in the face by a Mahut forehand at the net.
The third set was tighter, with Spanish captain Sergi Bruguera describing the tennis on display in the final tie-break as “extraordinary”, but ultimately the efforts of Lopez and Granollers were not enough.
In making the final, France now have a chance to seal back-to-back Davis Cup titles for the first time since the 1930’s.
Their opponents are still unclear after the United States won the third rubber of the other semi-final today against Croatia in five sets.
Hosts Croatia won both singles matches yesterday, moving them to the brink of a place in the final.
It was not to be for Croatians, however, as Mike Bryan and Ryan Harrison triumphed over Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic 7-5, 7-6, 1-6, 6-7, 7-6 at the Krešimir Ćosić Hall in Zadar.
Byran, who came out of retirement for the match, said it was one he would “never forget”.
"We both have high energy, it's great to win one for the country," said the 40-year-old.
"7-6 in the fifth, on the road and on dirt, this is right up there and I will never forget this one."
The American pair just edged the first two sets to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
But at that point, and with seemingly nothing to lose, Dodig and Pavic appeared to relax, taking the third comfortably 6-1.
Working off that momentum, the Croats managed to take the fourth in a tie-break, but three sets in succession proved too much to ask.
While they took it all the way, the home players eventually fell in a deciding tie-break, falling to defeat in four hours and 41 minutes.
The result means the US can still win the tie if Steve Johnson and Frances Tiafoe both win their singles rubber’s tomorrow against Marin Cilic and Borna Coric respectively.
The Croats will be heavy favourites to seal their spot in the final though, with world number six Cilic on court first.