Photo: Davis Cup
Italy snagged a 2-1 lead over Argentina in their first-round Davis Cup tie with a four-set victory in Saturday’s doubles.
The Italian duo of Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli lost the first set but rallied for a 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 victory over Eduardo Schwank and Horacio Zeballos in Mar del Plata to put the hosts on the brink of elimination.
The match, played on outdoor red clay at the Patinodromo Municipal “Adalberto Lugea,” was tightly contested throughout and did not feature a single service break until the fourth set.
The visitors had initially planned to use Filippo Volandri but opted for the 15th-ranked Fognini due to the pivotal nature of the match.
Fognini was also available for the doubles because he saved energy by routing Juan Monaco in straight sets in Friday singles action.
Argentina, which is without the services of world No. 4 Juan Martin del Potro due to his sour relations with the country’s tennis federation, now must win both of Sunday’s reverse singles, which will pit Carlos Berlocq against Fognini and Monaco against Andreas Seppi.
Earlier Saturday, Germany wrapped up a 3-0 home victory over Spain with a four-set win in Saturday’s doubles.
In a match that was played on a fast hard court at the Fraport Arena in Frankfurt and featured just one service break, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Tommy Haas edged Fernando Verdasco and David Marrero 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (9-11), 7-6 (9-7), 6-3.
Spain’s loss spoiled the debut of new captain Carlos Moya, who faced an uphill battle without the services of world No. 1 Rafael Nadal and world No. 5 David Ferrer.
Germany advanced to the Davis Cup quarterfinals with the victory and will next take on France, which defeated Australia 3-0.
Visiting Switzerland, meanwhile, finished off a 3-0 victory over short-handed Serbia, which was missing world No. 2 Novak Djokovic.
Next up for the powerhouse Swiss side, which features 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and newly crowned Australian Open champ and world No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka will be either Kazakhstan or Belgium.