Touching down in Naples on Thursday 3rd April, I knew that this particular Davis Cup tie was going to be fiercely competed. Sell out crowds, typical cup game atmosphere and stunning weather… All things pointed to a classic.
The first day, however, looked like it would threaten this perfect event. Torrential rain and wind for a solid hour created fear that there would be no tennis played! Yet, the rain subsided (thankfully!) and play commenced in the afternoon.
First up was Italian number one Fabio Fognini against Britain number two James Ward. Fognini cruised through the first set and it looked like it was going to be a walkover. Yet Ward found some momentum and stole the second, much to the away supports delight! However, Fognini showed his pedigree on clay and took the first win of the tie 6-4 2-6 6-4 6-1.
Andy Murray was up next against the clay court specialist Andreas Seppi, a solid hitter from the baseline and Murray would have to be at his best. From the word go, Murray never seemed in trouble and cruised to a comfortable 6-4 7-5 6-3 win, albeit playing two days after play was suspended on Friday due to light.
At 1-1, Saturday’s doubles seemed like the event in which would decide the outcome of the tie. Speculation was arisen when it seemed undecided whether Britain would play Murray twice in one day for the doubles or specialist Ross Hutchins alongside Colin Fleming. However, Murray stepped up and decided to play against Simone Bolelli and Fognini. An epic win was secured by Great Britain, sealing the match with a hard fought 6-4 6-2 3-6 7-5 victory. Everything was set in place for Andy Murray to win his singles against Fognini on the last day.
Sunday morning, and the crowd were ready for what was assumed going to be an epic encounter. However, Fognini showed what a class act he is on clay and completely outclassed an error prone Murray. At 2-2, the tie came down to a deciding fifth rubber between Seppi and Ward. No matter how hard Ward fought, Seppi consistently played his way to winning the match and securing Italy’s place in the semi finals of the World Group.