LILLE, September 13, 2018
Defending champion France will look to reach back-to-back Davis Cup by BNP Paribas finals for just the second time since the Challenge Round was abolished in 1972, having also achieved the feat in 2001-02.
In the French team’s way stands five-time Davis Cup champion Spain, which has reached the stage of the last four for the first time since 2012. The Spanish team has also been good on the road in recent times, winning four of its last five away ties. But the Stade Pierre-Mauroy holds good memories for Yannick Noah’s team, after they won the Davis Cup title there just 10 months ago and the French will no doubt hope for more success in Lille this weekend.
Who will have the lead after the opening day’s play? pic.twitter.com/YroNi2g68v
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) 13. September 2018
Pablo Carreño Busta will open the tie for Spain at the Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Lille against debutant Benoît Paire. Next up will be Roberto Bautista Agust taking on French No. 1 and local hero of last year’s final Lucas Pouille.
“I’ve been playing very good in practice and Yannick told me ‘Tomorrow, you’re going to play because I feel you can win your match and you can give us a point,'”Paire said.
“Roberto and I would be very excited to take the step forward and win this tie getting into the final with Rafa returning to the team,” Carreno Busta said.
For Saturday’s doubles rubber, Spanish captain Sergi Bruguera has named Feliciano López and Marcel Granollers, who will team up for the first time in six years, and for the first time in the Davis Cup, against Nicolas Mahut and Julien Benneteau, who officially announced his retirement from tennis at the US Open.