The Italian Davis Cup team pulled off a great comeback in the quarter-final tie against Great Britain and progressed to the semis through the courtesy of a brace of Sunday victories. The Friday program on the clay court of Tennis Club Napoli commenced with the encounter between Fabio Fognini and World no. 161 James Ward. Despite being a clear favorite, the highest-ranked Italian was given a lot to think about in the opening two sets – he recovered from 0-3 in the first one to move one nil ahead, but got broken on three occasions in the set number two which ultimately went his opponent’s way. While the British athlete still caused some headache to Fognini in the third set, the Italian took advantage of the first game break to restore the lead. He then put in marvelous display in the fourth set where he broke for three consecutive times to seal a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 win.
However, the British team got back into the race after their best player dealt with Andreas Seppi, ranked 34th, in straight sets to obtain the first point for the visitors. Andy Murray claimed the single break of the opener to go one nil up, whilst he rallied from behind in the remaining two sets for a 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 triumph. On Saturday the Naples crowd witnessed the defeat of Italians, represented by Fognini and Simone Bolelli, against Murray and doubles specialist Colin Fleming who prevailed in four sets to grab the second point and take over the lead. The result: 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
The reigning Wimbledon champion was thus handed an opportunity to wrap up the victory for Great Britain on Sunday, yet the chance went begging as he was somewhat surprisingly brushed aside by World no. 13 Fognini in straight sets. Murray started brightly by breaking in the opening game, but he suffered five losses of serve later in the clash which the home hope won 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.
The final and all-deciding rubber of the tie followed with an identical outcome as the preceding one – the Italian number two has proved to be too high a hurdle for Ward and capped off the host’s comeback by winning 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
World Group Quarterfinal, Italy – Great Britain 3-2
The Italians are to play the better of Switzerland-Kazakhstan pair.