Italy and Canada win through to Davis Cup semis
ITALY and Canada will face off to determine which nation takes its place in the 2022 Davis Cup Final. Both teams won through in tough and tight circumstances, seeing off the United States and Germany respectively in 2-1 results. The doubles pairings won their respective matches to seal the ties, with the final four of the Malaga event now decided.
In the earlier match, Italy overcome the United States 2-1 thanks to a terrific doubles effort from Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli. The pair overcame less recognised doubles duo Tommy Paul and Jack Sock in straight sets 6-4 6-4, while an understrength Italian singles pair was able to still hold up against the highly touted United States.
Missing Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini, the Italians instead leant on Lorenzo Sonego and Lorenzo Musetti who went up against Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz respectively. Though both ended up in straight set results and almost identical nail-biters, the nations were left split after two matches. Sonego took down Tiafoe 6-3 7-6, winning the second set tiebreaker 9-7. If that seemed close, then Fritz – who was returning from an ATP Finals semis appearance – stepped up to shrug off Musetti, 7-6 6-3 with the first set tiebreaker being 10-8.
Those results meant it came down to the doubles, and Bolelli and Fognini used their experience together to win in an hour and 20 minutes over Paul and Sock, to send Italy into the final four.
I’m really proud of my team, and of this crowd,” Italian captain Filippo Volandri said post-tie.
“It’s like we are in Italy! All the players did an unbelievable job. Even Matteo [Berrettini], who couldn’t play because of injury is here, and Jannik [Sinner] supporting from home. I am really lucky to have this team.
“Everyone is ready to do the job whenever I call them, and I’m really proud of all of them. Sonego has had a tough year but I knew he could do unbelievable things in the Davis Cup and he did.”
In the later match, Canada came from a match down to win 2-1 and complete the semi-finalists at the Malaga event. Jan-Lennard Struff caused a massive upset over Denis Shapovalov in three sets. The match lasted two hours and five minutes, with the German bouncing back from a second set loss to win, 6-3 4-6 7-6 and run away in the deciding set tiebreaker, 7-2.
Canada was able to respond immediately through Felix Auger-Aliassime who won 7-6 6-4 in an hour and 43 minutes over Oscar Otte. With the Germans missing Alexander Zverev due to injury, it was up to Otte to take the reigns, and while he battled hard against the Top 10 ranked Auger-Aliassime, the Canadian saluted in two tight sets, 7-6 6-4.
The deciding doubles saw Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil up against specialist doubles pairing of Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz. The Germans were favourites in the format, with Krawietz and Puetz winning the first set 6-2, before Canada hit back after that. The North Americans won the final two sets 6-3 6-3 to book their spots in the semi-finals of the event.
“Huge credit to Felix for bringing the team on the board,” Shapovalov said post-tie. He saved us out there today. It’s always a pleasure to play with Vasek. It’s always awesome to share the court with him and we bring some firepower.”