Bolelli and Fognini lead Italy to victory over USA

Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday, November 24, 2022

Bolelli and Fognini

Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini secured a place in the Davis Cup semi-final for Italy by defeating Jack Sock and Tommy Paul.

Photo Source: Getty

For the second year in a row, Italy has defeated the United States in the Davis Cup.

Fabio Fognini as well as Simon Bolelli defeated Jack Sock and Tommy Paul 6-4 6-4 to send the Italians to the final four of the Davis Cup. In the next semi-final of the Davis Cup, they will face either Italy or Germany.

Tennis Express

Italy improves to 9-4 over the United States. The two teams have met in each of the last three iterations of the Davis Cup, renewing a rivalry that lay dormant from 1998 to 2019.

Italy were underdogs in the match due to the absence of Matteo Berrettini and Yannick Sinner, but Lorenzo Sonego was quick, setting the tone for his team on Thursday in Malaga.

Sonego played brilliantly against Frances Tiafoe, scoring 17 aces and getting out of trouble in a tight second set, in which he saved a couple of set points by holding Tiafoe on a tiebreaker in the final set.

Sonego’s 6-3, 7-6(7) win gave Italy a 1-0 lead.

Tiafoe played well, but not well enough to overtake Sonego, who was clearly inspired to play for his country, which had the lion’s share of support in Malaga.

“It seemed to me that he dictated many moments, he beat me, he was more aggressor. He served well. I think he served very well,” Tiafoe said. “I just wasn’t as aggressive as I used to be. I was a little more careful and he took advantage of that.”

Tiafoe finishes his season in 19th place in the world rankings, reaching 35th and 25th, and also reached the semi-finals of the US Open.

Sonego has won two consecutive top 20 victories after losing 13 in a row against the top 20 from May 2021 to this summer.

Taylor Fritz, The #1 American led his team to a masterful 7-6(8), 6-3 victory over Lorenzo Musetti, setting the stage for decisive doubles.

Fritz, who will finish the season in the top 10 at world No. 9 for the first time, threw 12 aces and saved all three break points he faced to topple the rising 20-year-old.

“He showed that he was really in good shape,” Musetti said of Fritz. “I mean, he showed up even last week. He played really well. It was, I think, even hard for him, especially the first set. After all, I had my chances. I mean, I didn’t. But tennis is like that.

“I tried to be bold, to be aggressive on his second serve, but I didn’t play. But maybe I was a little rushed and he deserved to win.”

Fognini and Bolelli used their wealth of experience to beat Sock and Paul for a decisive doubles point as the 2015 Australian Open champions never had a broken serve. They had a critical break in every set, and after the win, American captain Mardy Fish was criticized for not choosing Rajiv Ram to play on the team.

Ram, who had just won the ATP final with Joe Salisbury, left a cryptic tweet after the tie was broken, saying, “How’s everyone having Thanksgiving?”

This is taken as a prick to the captain for leaving him out of the squad.

Fish explained his decision not to select the world’s third man in doubles after the contest.

“We have a lot of great players who play for the USA. Rajiv is one of them,” he said. “This year he was not in the team, and this is my choice. This is the team that I put on the court, and if someone has problems with this, then this is for me.

“Rajiv played. He played and he played well. He played for Jack and me a few times and I was happy to see this team. Also Jack and Francis are a phenomenal team. They played and beat really good teams in some competitions, so we had a lot of options. This was the team we went with today.

“But whether Rajiv was here or not, these guys should have won today. They played well and they are too good.”

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