Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini kept Italy’s hopes alive for a first Davis Cup title since 1976 on Thursday in Malaga as the doubles duo beat Tommy Paul and Jack Sock 6-4, 6-4 to win a hard-fought quarter-final against United States.
Bolleli and Fognini, who have won five tour-level titles together, including two this season, took the only break of service in each set in the decisive doubles match to give Italy a 2-1 victory against the 32-time champions.
“I’m really happy, I’m here with my ‘brother’ and we played really well,” Fognini told daviscup.com after helping Italy to the semi-finals of the team event for the first time since 2014.
“I’m happy for me, for Fabio, for the team,” Bolelli added. “It was very tough, but it’s great to go through to the semi-finals.”
Bolelli and Fognini’s doubles exploits came after the two teams split an enthralling pair of singles rubbers in Spain. Lorenzo Sonego defeated Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 7-6(7) to give Italy the early advantage, while also seeing a nerve-racking tiebreak in the second match between Lorenzo Musetti and Taylor Fritz. The American saved two set points in the first set before winning 7-6(8), 6-3 to tie the score, but Fritz’s victory was ultimately in vain as Bolelli and Fognini held on in doubles .
Italy’s opponent in Saturday’s semi-final will be Canada after Felix Auger-Aliassime led his country to a comeback victory against Germany in Thursday night’s quarter-final.
After Jan-Lennard Struff defeated Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2) in the opening singles rubber, Auger-Aliassime’s 7-6(1), 6-4 victory against Oscar Otte left the tie standings over to be decided by doubles. Despite Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz racing to the opening set, Vasek Pospisil and Shapovalov found their reach on return to break their opponents’ serve three times en route to an impressive 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 win to big delight of the vocal Canadian supporters in the crowd.
“Huge credit to Felix, first and foremost for getting the team on the plate,” Shapovalov said after he and Pospisil secured Canada’s second semifinal in four years. “He saved us today… It’s always a pleasure to play with Vasek. It’s always great to share the field with him and we bring some firepower.”
“We got a little bit of momentum and the public support helps us keep the momentum going to the end,” said Pospisil. “It’s a challenge to be sharp out there, but given the circumstances I thought we played really well.”
What is the format for the 2022 Davis Cup Final?
The group stage of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals 2022 took place in four cities – Bologna, Glasgow, Hamburg and Valencia – from September 13 to 18. Sixteen countries competed in four round-robin groups of four teams. The top two teams in each group advanced to the knockout stage. The knockout stage will take place in Malaga this week, with the final on Sunday.