Davis Cup Quarter Final 2014 – Italy vs Great Britain

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

The what???

For the first time since 1986, Great Britain have reached the last eight of this prestigious, but most unBritish of tournaments. Italy lie in wait on clay at the imaginatively-titled Tennis Club Napoli, and a fierce crowd is expected in the South of the country.

Back in ‘86, GB got a spanking from Australia at Wimbledon. But it is doubtful that Colin Dowdeswell was even a household-name in his own household. In fact, the triumvirate of the aforementioned Dowdeswell – Castle – Bates didn’t even win a set until the tie was over. The team is stronger 28 years on.

So can GB compete this time around? Much depends on Fabio Fognini’s fitness; it was he who won both his singles and his doubles game during their previous round victory over a strong Argentina. But he shouldn’t beat Murray, even on clay, which means Andreas Seppi may also have to contribute. His form has been poor of late – a 4-11 record in 2014 Davis Cup rubbers.

The clay probably gives the hosts the edge. Neither James Ward or Dan Evans have won a singles match in the main draw of a tour event on the red surface. Add to that Murray’s travails of late, and it is hard to make a case for a British upset (Italy are 1.55.) If there is to be a shock, perhaps Dan Evans, who often steps up on the big occasion, could beat Fognini. Then we really would have a tie on our hands.

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