French gamble on Paire for Nadal Davis Cup date

Benoit Paire is the surprise inclusion on the French Davis Cup semi-final team

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' time.

The 6ft 5in (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 hardcourt 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.