MÁLAGA, Spain (AP) — Italy beat the United States in a doubles decider Thursday to advance to the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time in eight years.
Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini defeated Tommy Paul and Jack Sock 6-4, 6-4 to secure a 2-1 win for Italy after the teams split the singles matches.
Bolelli and Fognini broke once in each set to set up a semifinal on Saturday against the winner between Germany and Canada.
Earlier, Lorenzo Sonego used his big serve to defeat Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 7-6 (7) and give the Italians a 1-0 lead. Taylor Fritz pulled the U.S. level after beating Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (8), 6-3.
The U.S. holds a record 32 Davis Cup trophies, but its last one came in 2007 under the previous format of best-of-five matches played in host countries instead of the revamped event where the final eight teams gather in one spot for a week of tennis. The American team led by captain Mardy Fish team came to Spain with high hopes that it could break that dry spell.
“I have wanted to win this thing for a very long time as a player and captain,” Fish said. “It is not going to happen this year and it stinks. We are going home without the trophy, which is a bummer.”
Italy won without its top two players as Jannik Sinner has an injured finger and Matteo Berrettini is recovering from a foot problem.
On Wednesday, a Croatia team led by Marin Cilic advanced to the other semifinal after beating a Spain side that was missing Rafael Nadal and No. 1-ranked Carlos Alcaraz.
Croatia will face Australia, which beat the Netherlands on Tuesday.
The final is on Sunday.
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