By Ricky Dimon
Italy became the first nation to clinch its round-robin group at the 2021
Davis Cup Finals when it defeated Colombia 2-1 on Saturday. The Italians won
both of their ties in Group E, having previously knocked off the United States
Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Sonego were the stars, both winning each of their
singles rubbers. Sinner was especially dominant, destroying 6’10” American
John Isner 6-2, 6-0 and then serving up another bagel in a 7-5, 6-0 victory
over Colombia’s Daniel Elahi Galan.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling playing here (in Turin) and it is a great feeling to be already qualified,” Sinner said. “I think me and Lorenzo played [great matches] against tough opponents. Obviously it means a lot for us.
“We are a great group of incredible players. We have two players with a lot of experience in Simone (Bolelli) and Fabio (Fognini), and me and both Lorenzos (Sonego and Musetti) are young players. We still have so much to learn. We have a great captain (Filippo Volandri), as well. For us it’s just a pleasure to play here in this arena. We’ll try our best on Monday.”
Kazakhstan joined Italy in the last eight by winning Group B on Sunday. Alexander Bublik and company followed up a 2-1 defeat of Sweden by sweeping Canada 2-0 in the two singles matches.
After Mikhail Kukushkin outlasted Brayden Schnur 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-5 in almost three hours, Bublik beat Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 7-6(6).
Kazakhstan will face Serbia, one of the top two second-place group
finishers. Italy will kick off the quarterfinal festivities on Monday against
Group D winner Croatia.
Serbia’s Davis Cup hopes were on life support after finishing runner-up to
Germany in Group F, but Novak Djokovic and company got exactly what they needed
in the Russia vs. Spain tie on Sunday night. A Spain 2-1 win would have sent
both countries through to the quarters while eliminating Serbia, but Russia
prevailed 2-1 to oust the defending champion Spaniards and save Serbia.
Russia will begin the knockout round against Group B runner-up Sweden on
Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The
Grandstand. You can follow
him on twitter at @Dimonator.