Paire to open for France against Spain in Davis Cup

France captain Yannick Noah in celebratory moodMore

France's Benoit Paire, left, poses with Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta during the Davis Cup draw, Thursday, Sept.13, 2018 in Lille, northern France.

Lucas Pouille, who annexed the winning point in last year's final in the same stadium, was next on court, hoping to give the champions a 2-0 lead against Roberto Bautista Agut.

Noah said winning a fourth Davis Cup on home soil - his team also sealed victory in the Lille arena past year - would be a fitting way for him to leave the job and he reckoned his team were now playing their best tennis of his inspirational reign.

France captain Yannick Noah said he "deserved a beer" to celebrate his defending Davis Cup champions' seamless progress past Spain and into their second successive final on Saturday.

Following victories for Benoit Paire and Lucas Pouille in Friday's singles, Benneteau and Mahut, who won both their previous Davis Cup rubbers when teamed together, were fancied to finish the job in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.

"You are going to enjoy it, you'll see my face, it's going to be amusing".

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Playing with real flair, not holding back and looking as if he was made for Davis Cup theatrics, Paire also showed real heart when struggling in the first set as he three times had to battle back from a set point down.

Veteran duo Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut secured France's decisive win, beating Feliciano Lopez and Marcel Granollers 6-0, 6-4, 7-6 (9/7). Noah has the option to use Gasquet on Sunday. "But I'm sure they gave it a deep thought".

Pouille was a set down and blew a 5-2 lead, with Bautista Agut saving five set points, but he came back from a mini-break down to win the tiebreak. The tie is set to be held on an indoor-hard surface at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille.

The teams are meeting for the ninth time, with Spain leading 6-2.

Croatia is hosting the United States in the other semifinal.

Spain's captain Sergi Bruguera admitted his Nadal-free team now face "the worst scenario" and he does not know yet if Carreno Busta will be fit for the reverse singles, which may see him have to turn to Albert Ramos Vinolas.

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