Paris - French Davis Cup coach Yannick Noah raised eyebrows
on Tuesday when he unexpectedly named Benoit Paire alongside Lucas Pouille and
Richard Gasquet for their mouth-watering semi-final against Spain in two weeks'
The 1.96 metres Paire has never played for France, is 56th
in the ATP standings and has a reputation for being flashy and taking risks but
has great spin and a powerful doublehanded backhand.
Noah said the selection was made with the opposition for the
September 14-16 hard-court semi-final in mind.
"He's really up for it," Noah said.
"Benoit's style is interesting when you consider the
opponent," he explained. "I've been wanting to play him for a while.
"He gives us plenty of options as a number three when
you are playing a typical Spanish team with (Rafael) Nadal and the
others," he said.
Spain and France have met twice previously in Davis Cup
semi-finals, with the Spanish winning in both 2004 and 2011 and going on to win
the Davis Cup both times.
The winner of the weekend's action will come up against
either Croatia or the United States in the final.