Pouille wins five-setter to put France on brink of Davis Cup final

Earlier in the day, Benoit Paire recorded a win on his Davis Cup debut, against Pablo Carreno Busta.

Lucas Pouille gestures to the crowd after victory in his singles match against Spain's Roberto Bautista-Agut.   -  AFP

Lucas Pouille dug deep to deny Roberto Bautista-Agut in five sets to give France both points on the opening day of its Davis Cup semifinal against Spain on Friday.

The French number one fought back from losing the first set to see off the Spaniard 3-6, 7-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 at Lille's Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

He took to the court with the host and defending champion already off the mark after Benoit Paire enjoyed a dream Davis Cup debut with a 7-5, 6-1, 6-0 defeat of Pablo Carreno Busta in Friday's opening rubber.

France captain Yannick Noah had admitted on the eve of competition that handing Paire a Davis Cup debut in a semifinal was “not an easy choice” but the gamble paid off handsomely.

His win, with Paire doubling up, leaves France 2-0 and heading for a final against either Croatia or the United States in November.

Croatia leads USA by an identical 2-0 margin going into Saturday's middle-day doubles.

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