Perfect Pouille guides France to Davis Cup glory
For the first time since 2001 France are Davis Cup champions, as Lucas Pouille dominated Steve Darcis in Sunday's deciding rubber.
Lucas Pouille was the hero as he dominated Steve Darcis to help France clinch a first Davis Cup title since 2001 after being taken the distance by Belgium.
France won Saturday's doubles to sit on the brink of victory in Lille, but David Goffin's beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to take the contest to a decisive fifth rubber.
And, with the weight of an expectant home crowd on his shoulders, 23-year-old Pouille delivered the goods with a 6-3 6-1 6-0 beating of the experienced Darcis.
Victory means France move level with Great Britain to third in the all-time list of winners with 10 titles, while Belgium - who lost to the British in the final two years ago - are still awaiting a maiden triumph.
Pouille was dominant from the off and broke at the first time of asking when Darcis put a forehand in the net.
Darcis was unable to recover from that setback, and completely wilted in the second set - the 33-year-old saving a break point in game one, but failing to hold serve again.
It was a familiar story at the start of the third as Darcis smashed a forehand into the net to relinquish serve, and he would not win another game as the French celebrations began at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.
Goffin had kept Belgium's hopes alive with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-2 victory over Tsonga.
Tsonga missed six break-point chances in a tense first set, and another went begging in the second when Goffin saw out the danger with a brilliant driving forehand followed by a volleyed winner at the net.
A costly double fault in the next game gave Goffin the crucial break, and Tsonga's resolve dwindled in a third set dominated by the ATP Finals runner-up.
But the efforts of Goffin, who won both of his singles' rubbers, were to prove immaterial thanks to Pouille's heroics.