Italy First to Qualify into Davis Cup QFs, Next Faces Croatia

Italy First to Qualify into Davis Cup QFs, Next Faces Croatia Photo: TT
Lorenzo Sonego celebrates after winning against Nicolas Mejia during their Davis Cup. Turin, Italy, Nov. 27, 2021. Photo Credit: AP Photo/Antonio Calanni.

Italy, the first nation to advance into the 2021 Davis Cup quarterfinals, has set a clash Monday with Group D winners Croatia.

Team Italy secured a spot among the last eight topping Group E, recording crucial victories over Team USA and Colombia at the Pala Alpitour Arena in Turin.

The squad commanded by captain Filippo Volandri features Davis Cup debutants Lorenzo Sonego and Jannik Sinner, alongside Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Musetti, and Simone Bolelli.

The host nation kicked off its campaign at the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals Friday, contesting their opening group-stage match against the U.S.

Sonego and Sinner displayed a nearly flawless performance in their singles tie to give Italy a 2-0 lead over the Americans.

World No. 27, Sonego, captured the first point for his country, sealing a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory over Canadian Open finalist Reilly Opelka.

Following the match, the Turin native said: “It was not easy. It was the first time for me competing at the Davis Cup, and I am really happy about the match.”

For his part, World No. 10 Sinner made a strong start in the team’s competition to earn a second win for Italy, as he defeated 36-year-old John Isner 6-2, 6-0.

I definitely ran up against a buzz saw today,” ranked No. 24 Isner outlined after the encounter.

Further adding: “He was entirely too good. I didn’t really have a chance out there.”

Later in the day, Fognini and Musetti teamed up to play the doubles match, meeting Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock, losing 6(5)-7, 2-6 after one hour and 33 minutes.

On Saturday, Italy took on Colombia, winning both singles matches, which guaranteed their group triumph, reaching Monday’s quarterfinal.

The opening tie between both nations unfolded into a three-set match-up between 26-year-old Sonego and Nicolas Mejia.

The World No. 275 Colombian would steal a tight first set 7-6(5) in one hour and 11 minutes.

However, the Italian recovered, battling for two hours and 36 minutes to emerge victorious 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2.

Then, it was time for his 20-year-old compatriot Sinner to face Daniel Elahi Galan, toppling the Colombian player in straight sets 7-5, 6-0, to progress into the last eight.

In a late-night doubles clash, Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah fought hard to earn their nation’s first point in the competition, prevailing over Fognini and Sinner 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(6).

We are a great group of incredible players. We have two players with a lot of experience in Simone [Bolelli] and Fabio [Fognini], me and both Lorenzos [Sonego and Musetti] are young players. We still have so much to learn; we have a great captain as well,” Sinner remarked.

For us, it’s just a pleasure to play here in this arena. We’ll try our best on Monday as well.”

NEXT: TWO-TIME DAVID CUP CHAMPIONS - CROATIA

The Italians will meet the winner of Group D, Croatia, which includes former world number three Marin Cilic.

On Friday, the Croats set off to a winning start beating Lleyton Hewitt’s Australia to record a perfect 3-0 score.

We have not had a match in the past 20 months. It was a pleasure to play against team Australia; they were fighting strong. Every match is important,” Cilic said as he ousted Alex de Minaur in three sets.

On Sunday, the team edged Hungary 2-1 to lock in a spot in the quarterfinals, topping Group D.

The first unseeded nation to ever win the Davis Cup Finals title (2005) will face Italy on Monday for a place in the semifinals in Madrid.

The squad is represented by captain Martic Vedran, World No. 30 Cilic, Nino Serdarusic - making his Davis Cup debut, Borna Gojo, and world number one pairing Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.

We wanted to win and give a statement, and now we will go into tomorrow’s match with confidence,” Mektic stated.

The 18-team tournament runs from November 25th to December 5th.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and a journalist passionate about sports, particularly motorsport, tennis, and soccer

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