Belgrade: Gael Monfils thrashed Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic 6-1, 7-6, 6-0 on Friday to give France a dream start to the Davis Cup final.
Monfils predicted after Thursday's draw that Tipsarevic would be nervous and those words proved prophetic as Serbia's hero from their semifinal victory over the Czech Republic produced a lame show after opening the tie with two feeble double faults.
World number 12 Monfils, on the other hand, revelled in the raucous atmosphere created by nearly 17,000 fans, outclassing his demoralised opponent with a flawless display of calm authority and elastic-limbed precision.
When he punched away a volley to end a one-sided match that lasted barely more than two hours, he celebrated with captain Guy Forget and his teammates as more than 1,000 travelling French fans dressed in blue waved flags and roared their delight.
"I think the score maybe looks easy but I think it was still tough," Monfils told reporters. "I had to break him a bit in his game and in his mind.
"I had to keep focusing on every point just to destroy him and that wasn't easy."
After days of hype leading up to Serbia's first appearance in a Davis Cup final, the stage was set for Tipsarevic after the crowd had been entertained by a troupe of traditionally dressed dancers performing a folk jig known as the kolo.
While they did not put a foot wrong Tipsarevic began as if his were tied together.
There was a collective groan around the arena when the world number 49 double-faulted on the opening point.
When he served another immediately after he shook his head and looked down at his strings while his teammates on the bench looked down at the ground.
He finally hit the target with a serve on the third point but hit a tentative backhand long to hand Monfils three break points and the Frenchman converted at the second attempt.
Serbian captain Bogdan Obradovic desperately tried to revive his man but two forehand errors in the fifth game gifted Monfils another break of serve and a third followed as the first set whizzed by before all the seats in the arena were even filled.
Tipsarevic took the second set to a tiebreak and the first major flashpoint of the match erupted to a cacophony of noise from the stands as a Hawkeye challenge went in favour of Monfils whose opening serve of the tiebreak had been called long.
When the umpire awarded the Frenchman the point, Tipsarevic and Obradovic gesticulated at the official as the crowd booed.
Once order was resumed, Tipsarevic finally found some fire in his belly to take a 4-3 lead but it proved a brief return to form as Monfils roared back to take the next four points.
The third set was painful to watch as Tipsarevic's error count grew to 38 and Monfils closed in for a victory that will give France high hopes of a 10th Davis Cup title.