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Italy through to Davis Cup semi-finals thanks to Bolelli and Fognini

The Italians were victorious in the week’s first deciding doubles bout

Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli celebrate victory Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli celebrate victory (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

The veterans Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini got the job done for Italy against the USA in the week’s first deciding doubles match – defeating Americans Tommy Paul and Jack Sock (6-4, 6-4) to win the tie 2-1.

Italy join Australia and Spain in the semi-finals – into the final four for the first time since 2014. They lifted the trophy in 1976 and reached the final six other times (1960, 1961, 1977, 1979, 1980, and 1998).

After a win for Lorenzo Sonego and defeat for Lorenzo Musetti, it was up to two 30-somethings to secure the victory. The duo had won two of their three matches last September, and this time round impressed by holding serve throughout, saving a single break point.

The USA’s doubles selection had been somewhat surprising for some onlookers, who expected Rajeev Ram – one half of the new ATP Finals champions – to be named in the squad. Instead, it was down to Paul and Sock, who had never played Davis Cup doubles together before.

Italy pulled off a famous win without their two highest-ranked players, Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini, both ruled out by injury. They will play either Canada or Germany in the semi-finals.

Fognini: We play with our heart

“We know each other like a brother, first of all,” said Fognini about his partnership with Bolelli. “Yeah, it was like eight years, like 2014 they say that we played our first semi-final. But I remember really well the time when we play against Roger and Stan [when Federer and Wawrinka were part of the triumphant Switzerland squad in 2014].

“Of course [it] is long, long time ago. A lot of teams changing during these all year. We are getting old!”

He added: “I’m really proud with Simone. Every time we play with our flags for our country, we play with our heart. That’s the most important thing which we say.”

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