In the clash of the two biggest European tennis nations, France has defeated Spain in Lille 3-0 to secure the place in the final, chasing the 11th Davis Cup crown and the second in a row after beating Belgium in the last year's final.
In what has been the last career match for Julien Benneteau, he joined forces with his great friend Nicolas Mahut for the third time in the Davis Cup and they ousted Marcel Granollers and Feliciano Lopez 6-0 6-4 7-6 in two hours and three minutes to deliver the third and decisive point for their country that will most probably host Croatia in the final in November.
It was a marvelous performance by Benneteau and Mahut, facing only one break point and completely outplaying their rivals in sets one and two to forge a great lead before prevailing in the tight third set to bring the match home in straight sets.
The Spaniard had to play against six break points and despite a huge experience they got broken five times, winning just two of the opening 12 games and finding their rhythm only in set number three when was too late for a comeback.
The French team was on another level in the opening set, losing four points in total and serving a bagel in just 18 minutes. Granollers suffered a break in the third game of the second set and the home team clinched it in the 10th game after a smash winner from Mahut at the net, moving 6-0 6-4 ahead in just an hour.
The Spaniards started to play better in the third set, breaking Mahut in the second game to jump into a 3-0 lead but suffering another break on Granollers' serve in game seven after a return winner from Benneteau. Lopez saved a break point in the ninth game and the set had to be decided in a close tie break.
Julien and Nicolas wasted the first match points at 6-5 and 7-6 before Benneteau sealed the deal with a return winner in the 16th point, ending his glorious career in the best possible way in front of the partisan crowd. Saturday's result: