December 2, 1996 in Sports

France Fights Back, Knocks Off Sweden To Claim Davis Cup

Compiled From Wire Services

For the first time in five years, the Davis Cup is going back to France.

Arnaud Boetsch outlasted Sweden’s Nicklas Kulti 7-6 (7-2), 2-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 10-8 in the decisive fifth match Sunday night, giving France a 3-2 win in the Davis Cup final.

Boetsch faced triple match point trailing 0-40 and 6-7 in the fifth set, but saved them all as Kulti was struggling with severe thigh cramps toward the end of the match.

Kulti dropped his serve to fall behind 9-8, then Boetsch went up 40-0 with service and triple match point. Kulti fought off the two first, but then hit a forehand long clinching France’s eighth Davis Cup title. The match lasted 4 hours, 47 minutes.

France’s previous Davis Cup win came in 1991 against the United States.

Earlier Sunday, Sweden’s Thomas Enqvist played one of the finest matches of his career, rallying from two sets down and 2-5 in the fifth set to beat Cedric Pioline 3-6, 6-7 (8-10), 6-4, 6-4, 9-7.

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