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DAVIS CUP

French delight at Davis Cup quarters spot

France captain Arnaud Clement was delighted as his side qualified for the quarter finals of the Davis Cup after taking an unassailable 3-0 lead over Germany in Frankfurt on Saturday.

French delight at Davis Cup quarters spot
Photo: Arne Dedert DPA/AFP

After Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils beat Jan-Lennard Struff and Philipp Kohlschreiber respectively in Friday's singles, the doubles pairing of Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut strolled to a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Benjamin Becker and Andre Begemann.

"It's been the perfect weekend in terms of results and for the doubles pairing," beamed Clement, whose side lost the 2014 final to Switzerland.

"Nico (Mahut) looked very strong in his first match.

"We have seen in the past how difficult it can be for teams to play well again having reached the final the year before, so it was important to see the enthusiasm in this first match."

Germany have now lost all eight Davis Cup matches against the French dating back to 1938 and their inexperienced team offered little resistance in their opening World Group match.

"Of course, the disappointment is very big, but we have to recognise that we deserved to lose the doubles over three sets," said Germany captain Michael Kohlmann following his first match in charge.

The Germans are now facing a relegation play-off in September while France play the winner of the USA verses Great Britain tie in Glasgow for a semi-final berth.

The French team enjoyed a hearty rendition of 'La Marseillaise along with a 200-strong group of fans who made the trip to Frankfurt with only pride now at stake for Sunday's remaining singles rubbers.

"It doesn't feel good when the French celebrate with a little party in our hall," admitted Kohlmann.

TENNIS

Pouille sends France past Italy and into Davis Cup semi-finals

Lucas Pouille sent France into the Davis Cup semi-finals on the strength of his four-set defeat of Italy's Fabio Fognini in Genoa on Sunday.

Pouille sends France past Italy and into Davis Cup semi-finals
France's Lucas Pouille celebrates after winning against Italy's Fabio Fognini during the Davis Cup quarter final on Sunday. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto / AFP
Pouille battled past the Italian number one 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 to give France an unassailable 3-1 lead in the quarter-final.
 
Sunday's redundant second reverse singles will not be played, organisers announced.
 
The title holders will face either Spain or Germany in the last-four tie in September.
 
Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert had cruised to a straight-sets victory over Fognini and Simone Bolelli in the doubles on Saturday to put France in control.
 
Pouille had clinched France's first point on Friday with a five-set success over Andreas Seppi with Fognini levelling in a bad-tempered four-set affair against Jeremy Chardy.