Paire gives France 1-0 lead against Spain in Davis Cup tie

Noah said winning a fourth Davis Cup on home soil - his team also sealed victory in the Lille arena previous year - would be a fitting way for him to leave the job and he reckoned his team were now playing their best tennis of his inspirational reign.

Defending Davis Cup champions France took an unassailable 3-0 semi-final lead over Spain on Saturday when Nicolas Mahut and Julien Benneteau beat Feliciano Lopez and Marcel Granollers 6-0 6-4 7-6 (9/7) in the third of five rubbers on the Lille hardcourt.

Debutant Benoit Paire rewarded captain Yannick Noah's faith by claiming the opening point for France in a hurry, thrashing an injured Pablo Carreno-Busta in straight sets.

Performing as per the expectations, Paire thrashed Busta 7-5, 6-1, 6-0 in a clash that lasted for one-hour-and-54-minute.

France's Lucas Pouille is now playing Roberto Bautista-Agut of Spain in the second singles rubber.

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"I started to feel the adductor problem again and at 3-0, 4-0 in the second set I knew it was going to be impossible to win", he told the Davis Cup's official website.

France, which won both singles matches Friday, will either face Croatia or the United States in the final.

Later, Boria Coric defeated Steve Johnson 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-3 to give Croatia a winning lead of 2-0 in the match.

France, captained by 1983 French Open victor Yannick Noah, will meet either Croatia or the United States in the final in late November. "We have great success, great chemistry in the team".

Serena Williams branded Ramos a "liar" and a "thief" during her defeat to Naomi Osaka, with the American fined $17,000 for three code violations.

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