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Italy stuns Britain in Davis Cup

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

NAPLES, Italy - Italy have foiled Great Britain's dream of a first Davis Cup semi-final appearance in 33 years with a battling 3-2 quarter-final win in Naples.

The British were in control, leading 2-1 going into yesterday's closing two reverse singles.

But Italy's world number 13 Fabio Fognini stunned Andy Murray 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to level the tie at 2-2, with Andreas Seppi securing the decisive last point with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 victory over James Ward.

Murray and Colin Fleming had put Britain in command on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 win over Simone Bolelli and Fognini in the doubles.

Murray had beaten Seppi 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 to level the tie in a rain-delayed singles after Fognini had got the first point on the board for the hosts with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Ward on Friday.

The Italians, who last appeared in the semi-finals in 1998, will now face either Kazakhstan or Switzerland in the semi-final.

Murray's defeat to Fognini was the Scot's first Davis Cup singles loss since 2005.

It came three days after he suffered a stomach bug and against a player who has won all three of his titles on clay within the last nine months.

After the rubber Murray said: "He played very well today, that's for sure. He's a very good player especially on this surface.

"I knew it would be a tough one but unfortunately I wasn't quite able to play well enough."

He appeared to lack sharpness throughout but said fatigue had not been an issue: "I thought I did OK. I guess the third set was the closest one in terms of scoreline."

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