Venue: Tennis Club Napoli, Naples, Italy
Surface: Outdoor Clay
Day 1: 11:30 Local (09:30 GMT)
Day 2: 14:00 Local (12:00 GMT)
Day 3: 11:30 Local (09:30 GMT)
R1 Fabio Fognini vs James Ward
R2 Andy Murray vs Andreas Seppi
R3 Simone Bolelli/Paolo Lorenzi vs Colin Fleming/Ross Hutchins
R4 Fabio Fognini vs Andy Murray
R5 Andreas Seppi vs James Ward
As has been the case with each Great Britain tie he has competed in in recent times, Andy Murray will need to go unbeaten to seal an unlikely victory for Great Britain and a place in the quarter finals. Murray’s struggles on clay are well documented and the matchup with Fabio Fognini will be decisive in determining the winner. Fognini’s form on the clay has been outstanding the past year with multiple titles won on the surface.
There was further disruption on Thursday when Murray fell ill with a stomach bug but indications are that he will be fit to take to the court against Andreas Seppi on Friday. Seppi has been far from impressive this year and lost his only clay match against Carlos Berlocq in the last tie with Argentina.
Saturday sees two doubles teams that are likely to change from what is listed. A tried and tested doubles team, Fognini and Seppi should take to the court for the Italians while Murray should split up the pairing of Fleming and Hutchins.
James Ward is rewarded for his victory over Sam Querrey in the last tie with a place as Britain’s No.2. While it was no doubt an embarrassing collapse from the American, Ward took his opportunity against a slumping player and looked full of confidence late on. It would be a surprise to see him manage to win the decisive fifth rubber if needed but Ward often seems a different animal in Davis Cup and will need to be to take victory in front of a raucous Italian crowd.
Prediction: Italy win 3-2