Fognini propels Italy past Argentina

 

The Sports Network

Mar del Plata, Argentina (SportsNetwork.com) - Fabio Fognini completed a stellar weekend with a reverse singles win on Sunday to give Italy a victory over Argentina in the first round of the 2014 Davis Cup.

Fognini won each of his three matches this weekend, finishing it with a 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 triumph over Carlos Berlocq on Sunday to give the Italians an insurmountable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five tie. The final singles match was not played.

Berlocq had given Argentina the first point of the weekend with a four-set win over Andreas Seppi in the opening singles match Friday. It was all Fognini from there.

Fognini stormed past Juan Monaco with a 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 win to give the visitors a split of Friday's action, then teamed with Simone Bolelli for a doubles win over Horacio Zeballos and Eduardo Schwank on Saturday to give Italy a 2-1 edge.

Sunday's opener was tight from the start and featured three breaks of serve for each in the first set. Berlocq broke for a 6-5 lead, but Fognini broke right back to force a tiebreak that was also close. Fognini won the last two points to steal the first set.

Berlocq picked up the lone break in the second set for a 4-3 lead and went on to even the match, but Fognini then dominated the third with breaks in the second and sixth games.

It took just one break in the fourth, as Fognini claimed it for a 3-2 lead. He went on to hold the rest of the way and finished it off in 3 hours and 38 minutes to send Italy to the quarterfinals for just the second time since 1998.

Argentina, meanwhile, had reached the semifinals each of the last four years and suffered a first-round exit for the first time in 12 years. The Argentines had won the only other matchup with Italy in the 1983 quarterfinals.

Italy will meet the winner between the United States and Great Britain in the quarterfinals in April.

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