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Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 10:07 GMT
Team profile: France
France with the Davis Cup trophy
France beat Australia in last year's Davis Cup final
Captain: Guy Forget
Record: Won 1927, '28, '29, '30, '31, '32, '91, '96, 2001
Route to the final: Holland 3-2, Czech Republic 3-2, USA 3-2

Sebastien Grosjean
The French number one has been plagued by injury this year but will be hoping to end the season on a high in Paris.

  Record against Russia
v Safin Won 2 Lost 4
v Kafelnikov W2 L3

His Davis Cup record is impressive - he has won five out of six singles rubbers he has played this year and holds a 10-6 record overall.

The 24-year-old is also a canny clay court performer and his relentless rallying coupled with a stunning forehand took him to the French Open quarter-final this year after a semi-final appearance in 2001.


Arnaud Clement
Like many of his team-mates, Clement tends to save his best for the Davis Cup and this year he has replaced Nicolas Escude as a regular singles player for his country.

  Record against Russia
v Safin W0 L 1
v Kafelnikov W3 L4

Singles wins over Andy Roddick and Sjeng Schalken have been crucial in France's advance to the final.

He will be challenged by Paul-Henri Mathieu for the second singles berth alongside Sebastien Grosjean.


Nicolas Escude
Escude was France's hero when they upset the odds to win the title away to Australia in 2001.

He won both of his singles rubbers to almost single-handedly lead the outsiders to victory on their least favoured surface of grass.

  Record against Russia
v Safin W3 L2
v Kafelnikov W2 L5

He also holds the best Davis Cup record of the French team, having lost one of nine matches.

But the 26-year-old does not thrive on slower surfaces and as this year's final takes place on indoor clay, his participation may be limited to the doubles on Saturday.


Fabrice Santoro
At 29, Santoro is the French team's most experienced campaigner.

  Record against Russia
v Safin W6 L1
v Kafelnikov W0 L6

Though he has mainly been restricted to doubles action in France's run to the final, he clinched a 3-2 win in the quarter-finals with a five-set triumph over the Czech Republic's Bohdan Ulihrach.

He has the measure of Marat Safin in singles but appears most likely to team up with Nicolas Escude for the pivotal doubles.


Paul-Henri Mathieu
Mathieu is yet to make his Davis Cup debut, but such are the strides he has made over recent months that he could make his first appearance in the final.

  Record against Russia
v Safin W1 L0
v Kafelnikov W0 L0

The 20-year-old burst onto the scene at this year's French Open, taking a shell-shocked Andre Agassi to five sets, before he captured two titles in October and broke into the world top 50 for the first time.

He may lose out to Arnaud Clement in the battle for singles berths but will be ready to step in should any of his more experienced team-mates succumb to injury.


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