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Pouille to open for France in Davis Cup semifinals

Pouille to open for France in Davis Cup semifinals”

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Lucas Pouille lead France in singles play this weekend on clay against Serbia at Stade Pierre Mauroy, the venue where France lost to Switzerland the last time it made it to the final three years ago.

"Davis Cup is one of the most important events that I can play", said the No. 20-ranked Kygrios ahead of Australia's first away match this year.

"We are sufficiently intelligent to know that it's going to be a hard match", the 1983 French Open victor said.

But the Serbian team has taken an even bigger hit, with 12-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic, Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic all ruled out with injuries. "We won't be playing an exhibition match this weekend".

Kyrgios will spearhead Australia's charge against a strong Belgium team featuring World No 12 David Goffin.

Serbia won their sole Davis Cup title in 2010, beating France in Belgrade 3-2.

"I was very lucky to do it at the Olympics past year and that was very special". Australia coach Lleyton Hewitt had been expected to select Thanasi Kokkinakis as his second singles player.

"John is match hardened, he's played a lot of five-set tennis, particularly in New York", Hewitt told the AAP agency.

"We live and die by the sword together and now it is up to me to get on with the job and try and serve the team as best I can and justify the faith they've shown in me".

In Davis Cup, they can at least be confident of something approaching a full-blooded performance from Kyrgios, who loves the team aspect of the competition and played a leading role in Australia's quarter-final victory over the United States in April.

Belgian's medical team have been working round the clock to ensure Goffin's presence after the Belgian star injured his left knee at the US Open.

If the Aussies clinch the crucial doubles rubber, the Aussies could be headed to their first Davis Cup final in 14 years.

As it always is, the doubles rubber will again be a key rubber and the Aussies have the decided advantage with doubles specialist John Peers at their disposal, the world's second ranked doubles player. "I nearly feel no pain anymore", Goffin said during Thursday's draw.

He also reached the fourth round at Flushing Meadows, where he was stopped in his tracks by unheralded Russian Andrey Rublev.

If the tie going into Sunday night's reverse singles is 2-1 in Australia's favour, then Kyrgios will be playing to give Australia the win, otherwise, the fifth rubber between Millman and Darcis will decide the tie.

The victorious semi-finalists will meet in the 2017 final scheduled for the end of November.



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