Noah’s gamble rewarded as France take Davis Cup lead

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 27 Nov 2017 10:35:25


 

LILLE (France),

FRANCE captain Yannick Noah gambled on an untested pair for the pivotal Davis Cup final doubles against Belgium on Saturday but Richard Gasquet and Pierre-Hugues Herbert’s win ensured he was spared a “hot seat” as Les Bleus moved into the driving seat.


Despite a big scare in the third set, Noah’s chosen duo beat Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 as France moved 2-1 ahead and within one win of a 10th Davis Cup title before Sunday’s reverse singles. Noah had been expected to pick either Julien Benneteau or Nicolas Mahut, with whom Herbert won two Grand Slam titles, but he surprisingly went for Gasquet instead, thus putting out a combination who had never played a competitive match together.


“It was a difficult decision because a lot of people did not have the same vision and even people within the group did not have the same vision,” Noah, who already led France to Davis Cup titles as captain in 1991 and 1996, told reporters. Noah, however, stuck with his choice, which he made on Tuesday after Herbert and Gasquet showed great form at a training camp.


“It would have been much easier to make the politically correct decision and lose with honours,” he said.
“Personally, it’s good for me that they won because otherwise I would have been on a hot seat,” he added with a smile.
“We knew we’d have to be solid mentally,” said Gasquet. “We knew that we had everything to lose.” Noah explained that Gasquet had been included in the team to replace Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Lucas Pouille in the singles in case of injury.


“We knew we’d have to be solid mentally,” said Gasquet. “We knew that we had everything to lose.”
Noah explained that Gasquet had been included in the team to replace Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Lucas Pouille in the singles in case of injury.