MALAGA, Spain (AP) — Lorenzo Sonego gave Italy a 1-0 lead over the United States in the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup…
MALAGA, Spain (AP) — Lorenzo Sonego gave Italy a 1-0 lead over the United States in the Davis Cup quarterfinals with a 6-3, 7-6 (7) win over Francis Tiafoe on Thursday.
Sonega, ranked 45th, served 17 aces and never dropped a single service game on the indoor hard court in Malaga. Sonega won after Tiafoe hit a forehand after a long rally to end the second set tiebreak.
“I feel like I let my guys down,” Tiafoe said. “It’s difficult. It’s been a great season for me and I wanted to win for my team, so (I feel) some extra frustration because it’s not about me, it’s about the team.”
The 19th-ranked Tiafoe reached the semi-finals of the US Open in September, having won their only previous meeting at the Paris Masters just over three weeks ago.
This time, Sonego took the lead, Tiafoe said.
“A couple of weeks ago I was playing very aggressively, running with him, hitting a lot harder; today he was,” Tiafoe added.
Sonego saved two set points from 6-5 down in the second set to take the tiebreaker. He said he took note of the loud Italian fans who turned out to support him in Spain, home to more than 250,000 Italians.
“It was an amazing atmosphere,” Sonego said. “We are in Málaga, not so far (from home). I really enjoyed every moment on the court with the public.”
Taylor Fritz is scheduled to face Lorenzo Musetti in the other singles. If necessary, American pair Tommy Paul and Jack Sock will play doubles with Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fannini.
Italy are without their top two players as Yannick Siner recovers from an injured finger and Matteo Berrettini recovers from an injured leg.
The United States owns a record 32 Davis Cup trophies, but the last trophy was in 2007 in the previous format of matches played in the host countries, rather than in the revamped competition, where the final eight teams gather in one place for a week of tennis.
Germany will play Canada later in the quarterfinals.
Marin Cilic’s Croatia advanced on Wednesday after defeating a Spain team that was without Rafael Nadal and No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz.
Croatia will face Australia in the semi-finals after beating the Netherlands on Tuesday.
The final is on Sunday.
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