TENNIS

Davis Cup Semi-finals

Benoit Paire and Lucas Pouille earned contrasting triumphs as champions France took a grip on their Davis Cup world group semi-final against Spain.

Paire made a remarkable cup debut for France, outplaying an injured Pablo Carreno-Busta 7-5, 6-1, 6-0 in the opening rubber at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

After Paire had breezed to victory in less than two hours, French no.1 Pouille, back where he won the winning point for his country in last year's final, battled from a set down to beat Roberto Bautista Agut in a classic five-setter 3-6, 7-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in three hours 41 minutes.
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They seem on course for a rematch of football's world cup final with Croatia in November. The Croats lead the U.S. 2-0 in the other semi-final.

Earlier, Croatia took a giant stride towards the Davis Cup final as they took a 2-0 lead in their semi-final against USA on home clay in Zadar thanks to straight-set victories for Borna Coric and Marin Cilic.

Coric, the world number 18, gave Croatia a flying start in their world group semi-final, defeating Steve Johnson 6-4, 7-6, 6-3 in the opening rubber.

World number six Cilic then capped off the perfect day for the hosts with a three-set victory, 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 over us debutant, 20-year-old Frances Tiafoe, in the second rubber.

Croatia have now recorded eight straight wins in Zadar.