Lille: David Goffin mercilessly swept aside close friend Lucas Pouille to give Belgium the first point in the Davis Cup final against France on Friday.
Goffin, the world number seven, won 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 in front of a crowd of close to 26,000 at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in the northern French city of Lille.
French number one Jo-Wilfried Tsonga faces Steve Darcis in the second singles rubber later as the hosts look to stay in the tie and win the trophy for the first time since 2001.
Goffin, who last week lost to Grigor Dimitrov in the title decider at the ATP Finals in London, needed just under two hours to give the Belgians the upper hand as they look to win the Davis Cup for the first time.
This was the 26-year-old's first win over 18th-ranked Pouille in their fourth meeting.
Goffin got the better of his French foe's strong baseline play, making the telling break in the 11th game to serve out to love to take the opening set.
He broke Pouille's serve at the start of the second, going on to break again to take the set 6-3, and race to a 3-0 lead in the third.
A deft backhand winner lifted the Belgian to 5-1 and he sealed the first point of the 2017 final with a crosscourt forehand winner.
"I've pushed the salad bowl a little towards the border, only a little because it's heavy," said Goffin, referring to the trophy.
"I'm thrilled to have set the team off like that."
Published Date: Nov 24, 2017 23:28 PM | Updated Date: Nov 24, 2017 23:28 PM