David Goffin gives Belgium 1-0 lead in Davis Cup final
LILLE, France (AP) David Goffin gave Belgium a 1-0 lead over France in the Davis Cup final by beating Lucas Pouille 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 Friday.
With his confidence boosted by a runner-up finish at the ATP Finals last week, the seventh-ranked Goffin played offensive tennis and was in control throughout. He hit 21 winners and 12 aces and did not face a single break point.
France’s top player, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, will face Steve Darcis in the second singles match later Friday on the indoor hard court at the Pierre Mauroy Stadium.
Before the opening match even started, French substitute Julien Benneteau was sobbing in the stands as his teammates stepped onto the court. Benneteau was consoled by doubles teammate Nicolas Mahut, who was cut from France captain Yannick Noah’s squad on Thursday.
Mahut and Benneteau were expected to play together in Saturday’s doubles but Noah made a surprising decision by including Richard Gasquet instead. Gasquet is now set to be paired with Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Goffin, who had lost his three previous matches against Pouille, played with strapping on his left knee but still moved well and hit two consecutive aces to hold serve to 5-5. He earned his first break point when Pouille fired a forehand into the net, then capitalized on a backhand mistake.
Goffin sealed the set on his next service game, holding at love.
Pouille never recovered from the first-set loss and Goffin impressed in front of the buoyant Belgian fans with his vast array of shots. He dictated points with deep groundstrokes as he continued to apply pressure early in the second set. Returning extremely well, he also came to the net with neat approach shots and broke immediately when Pouille double-faulted.
Goffin dropped just one point on his serve in the second set and sealed it with another break in the ninth game.
The Belgian broke for a 2-0 lead in the third set after chasing a drop shot to conclude a rally with a backhand volley, and broke again with a backhand winner down the line in the sixth game.