GENEVA (Reuters) - Italy kept alive their hopes of reaching the Davis Cup final when Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli won a five-set doubles rubber against Swiss pair Stanislas Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli on Saturday.
Trailing 2-0 after Roger Federer and Wawrinka won Friday’s singles matches, Fognini and Bolelli had no margin for error but produced a battling display in front of a sea of Swiss fans in the Palexpo Arena to win 7-5 3-6 5-7 6-3 6-2.
Italy, seeking to reach the final for the first time since 1998, still have it all to do with the temperamental Fognini needing to beat 17-times grand slam champion Federer in Sunday’s opening reverse singles.
“It was four hours and very tough but after we were two sets to one down we showed a lot of heart,” said Bolelli who was beaten by Federer on Friday.
“It was tough to bring this point home but now we are 2-1,” he told reporters.
The Swiss were a set away from reaching the final for the second time when they turned round the doubles tie after losing the opening set but the Italian duo stormed back and took control early in the decider.
Italy captain Corrado Barazzutti said he hoped Fognini would take inspiration from the doubles for his match with Federer.
“I think for Fabio it’s tough because he played four hours today but for his confidence it’s good and I think he’s going to play well tomorrow,” the captain added.
Federer has won all four of his Davis Cup singles rubbers this year as he seeks the one major piece of silverware to elude him during his illustrious career.
He has only faced Fognini twice, winning five out of five sets and dropping only eight games in the process.
“We’re going to try until the end,” Fognini said.
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Alan Baldwin