France beats Spain to secure Davis Cup final place

Defending champions France secured their place in the Davis Cup final as they took an unassailable 3-0 lead over Spain in the semi-final in Lille.

Julien Benneteau and Nicholas Mahut beat Marcel Granollers and Feliciano Lopez 6-0 6-4 7-6 (9-7) to wrap up the best-of-five tie.

Benneteau retired from playing after the US Open but returned to help France reach their ninth final.

They will face either Croatia or United States in the final in November.

Croatia lead the tie 2-1 after America’s Mike Bryan and Ryan Harrison beat Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic 7-5 7-6 (8-6) 1-6 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-5) in the doubles.

Benneteau and Mahut are unbeaten in Davis Cup rubbers, and took just 18 minutes to clinch the opening set.

Despite trailing 4-1 in the third set, they fought back to force a tie-break before Benneteau produced a backhand service return to ensure victory.

Benneteau, 36, will take charge of France’s team for the Fed Cup – the women’s equivalent of the Davis Cup – from 2019. –BBC

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