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Bolelli/Fognini Hold Nerve To Keep Italy's Davis Cup Dream Alive

  • Posted: Nov 24, 2022

Bolelli/Fognini Hold Nerve To Keep Italy’s Davis Cup Dream Alive

Sonego earns crucial singles win against Tiafoe

Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini kept alive Italy’s hopes of a first Davis Cup title since 1976 on Thursday in Malaga, where the doubles duo edged Tommy Paul and Jack Sock 6-4, 6-4 to clinch a hard-fought quarter-final win against the USA.

Bolleli and Fognini, who have lifted five tour-level titles together, including two this season, clinched the only break of serve in each set in the decisive doubles match to give Italy a 2-1 victory against the 32-time champions.

“I am really happy, I am here with my ‘brother’ and we played really well,” Fognini told after helping Italy reach the semi-finals of the team event for the first time since 2014.

“I am happy for me, for Fabio, for the team,” added Bolelli. “It was really tough, but it is great to be through to the semi-finals.”

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Bolelli and Fognini’s doubles heroics came after the two teams had split an engrossing pair of singles rubbers in Spain. Lorenzo Sonego downed Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 7-6(7) to give Italy the early advantage, while there was also a nerve-wracking tie-break in the second match between Lorenzo Musetti and Taylor Fritz. The American saved two set points in the first set before wrapping a 7-6(8), 6-3 win to level the tie, but Fritz’s win was ultimately in vain as Bolelli and Fognini held firm in the doubles.

Italy’s semi-final opponent will be decided in the Thursday evening quarter-final clash between Canada and Germany. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov spearhead the Canadian team, with Jan-Lennard Struff and Oscar Otte the nominated singles players for Germany.

What is the format for the 2022 Davis Cup Finals?
The group stage of the 2022 Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals took place across four cities — Bologna, Glasgow, Hamburg and Valencia — from 13-18 September. Sixteen nations competed in four round-robin groups of four teams. The top two teams in each group advanced to the knock-out stage. The knock-out stage is taking place in Malaga this week, with the final on Sunday.

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Shelton Continues Rapid Rise, Cracks Top 100

  • Posted: Nov 24, 2022

Shelton Continues Rapid Rise, Cracks Top 100

20-year-old surges behind three consecutive Challenger titles

Eighteen months ago, Ben Shelton was the No. 5 singles player for the University of Florida’s men’s tennis team. At that time, he did not own a Pepperstone ATP Ranking.

Now the 20-year-old is one of the Top 100 players in the world. Shelton climbed to a career-high World No. 97 on Monday.

“It’s definitely gone quick,” Shelton said. “I’m going to take this offseason and slow down a bit, enjoy myself, and also focus on some things I can improve.”

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Shelton completed a tremendous three-week run on Sunday when he defeated Australian Aleksandar Vukic to win the ATP Challenger Tour event in Champaign, Illinois. The lefty became the youngest player in Challenger history to lift three trophies in as many weeks, having also emerged victorious in Charlottesville, Virginia and Knoxville, Tennessee.

“I feel pretty lucky, I didn’t expect to play 15 matches in three weeks and my body held up,” Shelton said. “It’s encouraging to me that I can play this many matches and be alright.”

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Shelton won the NCAA Singles title in May and has not looked back since. He tallied a 35-8 record on the ATP Challenger Tour, winning three titles and making three additional finals.

The son of former World No. 55 Bryan Shelton also distinguished himself at tour-level events. In July, he battled John Isner to a final-set tie-break in Atlanta, before stunning Lorenzo Sonego and then-World No. 5 Casper Ruud at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati. Ahead of the US Open, the lefty turned professional.

Shelton, who began the season outside the world’s Top 550, has climbed more spots than anyone currently inside the Top 100. He does not have any Pepperstone ATP Ranking points to defend until June and is the youngest of 13 Americans in the Top 100.

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