Tennis

Davis Cup | Croatia shocks Italy

Serving it up: Olympic champions Mektic, right, and Pavic had no trouble winning the deciding doubles.   | Photo Credit: ANTONIO CALANNI

Croatia dumped out much-fancied Italy in the Davis Cup quarterfinals on Monday as Olympic men’s doubles champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic brushed aside Jannik Sinner and Fabio Fognini in a deciding match.

The Italians were one of the favourites for the title but paid for Lorenzo Sonego’s shock defeat by World No. 279 Borna Gojo in the first singles rubber.

Singles World No. 10 Sinner forced a deciding doubles with a dramatic victory over Marin Cilic, but he could not complete the job against the top two ranked doubles players as Mektic and Pavic won 6-3, 6-4 to silence the home crowd.

Croatia is bidding for a third Davis Cup title and second in three stagings of the event after lifting the trophy in 2018.

This win also confirms its place at next year’s Davis Cup Finals, with the four semifinalists guaranteed qualification.

Earlier, rising star Sinner battled back from a set and a break down to beat Cilic.

Italy was facing a quick exit when former US Open champion Cilic served for the match when leading 5-4 in the second set.

But Sinner fought back from the brink, breaking to love before taking a tie-break and going on to win 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3.

Gojo beat Sonego 7-6(2), 2-6, 6-2 to give Croatia the first point.

The Croatian overcame a hesitant start, with the 23-year-old trailing the 27th-ranked Sonego 4-1 in northern Italy, before coming back from 5-3 down to take the first set in a tie-break.

Sonego, 26, powered back in the second set but dropped serve early in the final set at 2-1, with over 30 unforced errors allowing Gojo to win in 2 hours and 20 minutes.

The results (quarterfinals): In Turin: Croatia 2 bt Italy 1 [Borna Gojo bt Lorenzo Sonego 7-6(2), 2-6, 6-2; Marin Cilic lost to Jannik Sinner 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3; Nikola Mektic & Mate Pavic bt Fabio Fognini & Sinner 6-3, 6-4].


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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 5:34:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/davis-cup-croatia-shocks-italy/article37778562.ece

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