Pouille powers France to Davis Cup crown » Manila Bulletin Sports

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France's Lucas Pouille, center, carries the French flag with teammates after he defeated Belgium's Steve Darcis in their Davis Cup final single match at the Pierre Mauroy stadium in Lille, northern France, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017. France won the Davis Cup for the first time in 16 years. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

France’s Lucas Pouille, center, carries the French flag with teammates after he defeated Belgium’s Steve Darcis in their Davis Cup final single match at the Pierre Mauroy stadium in Lille, northern France, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017. France won the Davis Cup for the first time in 16 years. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

LILLE, France – Lucas Pouille throttled Belgium’s Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 in Sunday’s decisive fifth rubber to clinch a 10th Davis Cup title for France in front of a passionate Lille crowd.

Belgian ace David Goffin levelled the final at two points apiece after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets in Sunday’s opening reverse singles, but a revitalized Pouille propelled France to a first victory since 2001.

Pouille was beaten convincingly by Goffin in Friday’s first singles tie, but the world number 18 shook off that defeat to swat Darcis aside in one hour and 34 minutes.

“There’s nothing better than winning as a team, with my mates, in front of the fans, my family and my friends,” Pouille told French television.

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 Grand Slam 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 told BeIN Sports. “Everyone wanted this, we favored the spirit of the group above individuals… I’m so happy.” (AFP)

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