It came down to the fifth and deciding rubber for favored France to knock off a spirited Belgian team in Lille. It was 23-year-old Lucas Pouille who delivered the knockout blow over veteran Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-1, 6-0. The win marks France’s 10th Davis Cup title and they celebrate the occasion for the first time since 2001.
Pouille, ranked No. 18 in the world, rose to the occasion two days after getting swept by David Goffin. On Sunday, Pouille was so dominant in breaking Darcis seven times that match point was a mere formality in the 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 win. Still, his joy in lifting the trophy was priceless.
"There are no words needed," Pouille told the ATP World Tour. "Just look at the atmosphere and the emotion... I'm just so proud of my team. We really wanted this trophy and finally we got it after 16 years. I'm very happy."
On Friday, Goffin opened the Davis Cup final with a win over Pouille before Tsonga evened the tie by taking out Darcis. France scored a critical doubles point with a Saturday’s doubles victory thanks to Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Richard Gasquet.
Tsonga was unable to overcome Goffin in the first singles rubber on Sunday, but he still created a few magical shots like this shoestring volley:
Goffin was at his best a week after finishing runner-up at the ATP Finals at London. He torched Pouille on Friday and battled past Tsonga on Sunday. The new world No. 7 delivered the best shot of the day, turning defense to offense and delivering a brilliant slice winner:
But in the end, it was victory for France after a valiant effort from Belgium, who has now finished second twice in the last three years.