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Davis Cup • Italy Battles Croatia in Quarterfinals, Russia Eliminates Defending Champion Spain and More

Lorenzo Sonego of Italy celebrates after winning the tennis singles match against Nicolas Mejia of Colombia at the Davis Cup finals tie Italy vs Colombia in Turin, Italy, 27 November 2021. EPA-EFE/ALESSANDRO DI MARCO


By Ricky Dimon

Italy became the first nation to clinch its round-robin group at the 2021 Davis Cup Finals when it defeated Colombia 2-1 on Saturday. The Italians won both of their ties in Group E, having previously knocked off the United States 2-1.

Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Sonego were the stars, both winning each of their singles rubbers. Sinner was especially dominant, destroying 6’10” American John Isner 6-2, 6-0 and then serving up another bagel in a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Colombia’s Daniel Elahi Galan.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling playing here (in Turin) and it is a great feeling to be already qualified,” Sinner said. “I think me and Lorenzo played [great matches] against tough opponents. Obviously it means a lot for us.

Team Italy lines up before the Davis Cup finals tie Italy vs Colombia in Turin, Italy, 27 November 2021. EPA-EFE/ALESSANDRO DI MARCO

“We are a great group of incredible players. We have two players with a lot of experience in Simone (Bolelli) and Fabio (Fognini), and me and both Lorenzos (Sonego and Musetti) are young players. We still have so much to learn. We have a great captain (Filippo Volandri), as well. For us it’s just a pleasure to play here in this arena. We’ll try our best on Monday.”

Kazakhstan joined Italy in the last eight by winning Group B on Sunday. Alexander Bublik and company followed up a 2-1 defeat of Sweden by sweeping Canada 2-0 in the two singles matches.

Kazakh tennis player Mikhail Kukushkin celebrates after winning against Canadian Brayden Schnur during their game as part of Davis Cup finals in Madrid, Spain, 28 November 2021. EPA-EFE/Emilio Naranjo

After Mikhail Kukushkin outlasted Brayden Schnur 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-5 in almost three hours, Bublik beat Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 7-6(6).

Kazakhstan will face Serbia, one of the top two second-place group finishers. Italy will kick off the quarterfinal festivities on Monday against Group D winner Croatia.

Serbia’s Davis Cup hopes were on life support after finishing runner-up to Germany in Group F, but Novak Djokovic and company got exactly what they needed in the Russia vs. Spain tie on Sunday night. A Spain 2-1 win would have sent both countries through to the quarters while eliminating Serbia, but Russia prevailed 2-1 to oust the defending champion Spaniards and save Serbia.

Russia will begin the knockout round against Group B runner-up Sweden on Thursday.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.