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U.S. Davis Cup team falls to Italy in quarterfinals in Malaga

Pat Mitsch | November 24, 2022


An inspired Italian team closed the door on the United States’ Davis Cup title hopes for a second consecutive year with a 2-1 victory in Thursday's quarterfinal tie at the Davis Cup Final 8 in Malaga, Spain.

 

Lorenzo Sonego beat Frances Tiafoe in the day’s first singles and Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli beat Jack Sock and Tommy Paul in the decisive doubles match to put Italy through to the semifinals and the U.S. team back into the qualifying pool for 2023.

“No doubt that it was a tough day and no doubt that they were the better team today,” U.S. captain Mardy Fish said after the tie. 

 

“Their doubles, they played phenomenally well. They're a great team.  They have played a lot of big matches together throughout the years in Davis Cup, in the Olympics, and otherwise. They are very familiar with those surroundings.

 

"Sonego was maybe the best player of the whole tie today. I mean, he played phenomenally well.  Frances played his butt off. [We] just got beat, and it happens.”

 

Sonego used consistently big first serves to beat Tiafoe in the day’s first singles, 6-3, 7-6(7), hitting 17 aces to Tiafoe’s five. 

“Just throughout the match, I felt like a lot of the points he was dictating, he was running me around, he was more the aggressor,” Tiafoe said. “He served well.  He served really well, I thought. I just wasn't as aggressive as I have been. I was a bit more tentative, and he took advantage of that. I wasn't missing balls really, but I wasn't hurting him. 

 

“Guys are too good.  If you have guys that hit and make you run, sometimes you get away with it and sometimes you don't, and today I didn't.”

 

Taylor Fritz, the American No. 1, evened the tie in the second singles with a 7-6(8), 6-3 dismissal of Lorenzo Musetti. 

 

“You know, I had my chances earlier in the match.  I felt like when the balls were a bit newer I could attack, I could maybe do something with the ball,” Fritz said.  “The tiebreaker, I just felt, and end of the first set, as well, end of the first-set tiebreaker, beginning of the second, I just felt like I just had to focus on my serve and get through it and get to the ball change. As soon as I got to the ball change in the second set I was able to break.”

 

Fognini and Bolelli then showed top form in the doubles, hitting 20 winners to clinch victory over Paul and Sock. 

 

The U.S. will next play in the qualifying round In February against an opponent to be drawn on Sunday in Malaga. 

 

“Obviously super disappointed, but these guys aren't going anywhere. These guys, Jack's our oldest guy at 30, so we've got a bunch of 25-year-olds. It's a process,” Fish said.

 

“I have wanted to win this thing for a really long time as a player, as a captain, anything. It's not going to happen this year. That stinks, but we have all got each other's back. We have had a blast coming over here. We're going home without the trophy, which is a bummer.

 

“This isn’t just a one-tie, one-match situation for me. It’s a process to build this team. We have a phenomenal team, and we will have a phenomenal team next year as well.”

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