The 29-year-old Benoit Paire has waited patiently to get a chance of making the Davis Cup debut and he performed the best possible one today in Lille, toppling Pablo Carreno Busta 7-5 6-1 6-0 in an hour and 54 minutes for his fourth win in seven matches against the Spaniard. After a few good results at the start of the season, Paire has struggled to keep that form but everything worked great for him today, hitting 16 aces (also 11 double faults) and losing serve only once from six chances he offered to the Spaniard.
Pablo never found his rhythm and after the match he found out he was injured and that he will not play on Sunday. Paire dominated on the return, creating 12 break points and converting seven to seal the deal in less than two hours, dominating after a tight opening set in what has been one of the best performances on the Tour this year.
Pablo was off to a better start, though, saving a break point in game four and moving ahead when Paire hit a double fault in the following game. In one of the crucial games of the set, the Frenchman fends off three break points at 2-4 to remain in contention and he saved two set points at 3-5, building the confidence before saving another set point on the return in game 10 before he broke back with a forehand return winner that gave him such a huge boost before the rest of the match.
Carreno Busta faded from the court after that and he got broken again in game 12 after a volley winner from Benoit who stole the set 7-5. Paire rattled off the last four games of the opener and he had no intention of stopping there, breaking in the second game of the second set with a backhand down the line winner and painting another one two games later to earn another break and win the ninth straight game after a commanding hold in game five for a 7-5 5-0.
Playing better and better as the match progressed, Paire sealed the second set with an ace in game seven and he was on the winning trail against the beaten rival who was far from his best. The third set lasted just 25 minutes and Benoit grabbed 24 out of 31 minutes to serve a bagel and clinch the opening point for his country in the best possible way.
The Spaniard got broken at 15 in the opening game and he fired a service winner for a hold at love in game two as Pablo barely tried to reach the balls now. Another return winner pushed Benoit 3-0 up and he served for the triumph after another break in game five.
He clinched the win with an ace, celebrating his first Davis Cup victory in front of the home crowd and making the first big step towards another Davis Cup final for France. Friday's results: