NAPLES, ITALY: Bad light stopped play in the match between Italy's Fabio Fognini and Chile's Paul Capdeville with the two players locked at 1-1 in the fifth and final set.
Play will resume tomorrow morning before the doubles rubber, which will also feature Capdeville.
Andreas Seppi gave the home fans something to cheer about on Friday when he won the first rubber of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group play-off tie against Guillermo Hormazabal 75 61 62, giving Italy a 1-0 lead over Chile.
Yet things didn’t go as well as the Italians had hoped for on Friday: rather than securing wins in both the first and second singles rubbers of the tie, the second singles rubber between No. 54 Fabio Fognini and and No. 161 Paul Capdeville remains up in the air, having been suspended after 3 hours 36 minutes when it became too dark to play further. The score at the time of the suspension was 26 62 67(6) 61 1-1.
“The most important thing is first of all to win the second singles,” said Corrado Barazzutti, the Italian team captain. “That is very important for [our] confidence."
While Seppi’s win came as no surprise to either the Italians or the Chileans, he struggled in the first set of his singles rubber. Hormazabal fought hard during the first set, exchanging points with Seppi and at one point bringing the score to 5-5. After Seppi took the first set, however, he entered the second and third sets with renewed focus.
After the rubber, Seppi said he wasn’t 100 per cent happy with how he played at the start, but in the end he met his goal of securing a decisive win for Italy.
“I think it was important for me to win in straight sets,” Seppi said afterwards. “In the second and third I was much more aggressive, and he had more problems.”
Hormazabal said he was happy with how he held his own against Seppi during the start of the rubber, given the Italian's strong singles record.
“I played well in the first set,” Hormazabal said. “Then after, nothing. He played very well, very strong.”
The second rubber between Fognini and Capdeville took a more dramatic turn, with the players fighting tooth and nail throughout and especially during a third set tiebreak. After several dramatic slides by Fognini and a fall in which Capdeville appeared as if he might have been injured, Capdeville won the tiebreak 8-6 to take the third set, putting him in the lead.
Fognini quickly came back and took the fourth set 6-1, leaving the winner to be determined in set five. The match was then poised at 1-1 in the fifth set, with play being suspended before the set could be completed due to darkness.
Chilean team captain Belus Prajoux said that Capdeville was playing very well during his singles rubber, and now needs to focus on recovering before play resumes Saturday.
“He has to recover because he has had a long match, about four hours,” Prajoux said. “He was attacking all the time, that makes you more tired. Then we wait for the doubles.”
Should Capdeville fall to Fognini, the Italians would be just one win away from an overall victory and the chance to compete for the 2013 Davis Cup championship as part of the elite World Group.
Last year, Italy defeated Chile 4-1 in Santiago to secure a place at the highest level of the Davis Cup competition, but the Italians’ 4-1 loss to Czech Republic in February has forced them to once again fight for their spot.
If Chile wins this weekend, the South American team will become part of next year’s World Group, while the Italians will drop to Europe/Africa Zone Group I.
After the rubber between Fognini and Capdeville is completed on Saturday, the doubles rubber will commence, in which Italians Simone Bolelli and Daniele Bracciali will play Chileans Capdeville and Jorge Aguilar. In the doubles, the Italians will rely heavily on the skills of the 26th-ranked doubles player Daniele Bracciali, who is by far the strongest of the four players who will step onto the court.
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Andreas Seppi (ITA) - 14/09/12