MORIOKA, IWATE PREF. – Italy took a 2-1 advantage over Japan in their Davis Cup World Group first-round tie on Saturday, when Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini defeated Ben McLachlan and Yasutaka Uchiyama in doubles.
After splitting Friday’s opening singles matches, Italy gained the upper hand in a 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-3), 7-5 doubles victory despite McLachlan and Uchiyama combining for 15 of the 19 aces scored at Morioka Takaya Arena.
With the match tied 1-1 and leading 6-5 in the third set, McLachlan and Uchiyama lost a set point, and came within one point of forcing a fourth-set tiebreak.
“We had our chances,” Uchiyama said. “With every set going to 5-5, it was really close and hung on single points. There were a lot of turning points.”
The tie will wrap up with Sunday’s reverse singles, with host Japan needing to win both to advance to the semifinals. The loser will have to win a playoff to remain in next year’s World Group.