Fognini lifts Italy into Davis Cup quarters

Fabio Fognini won the fifth and deciding rubber Sunday, as host Italy defeated Croatia 3-2 in a best-of-five opening- round Davis Cup tie in Turin.

The Italians headed into Day 3 with a 2-1 edge against the visiting Croats, who stayed alive when world No. 13 Marin Cilic straight-setted Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 on Sunday, setting the stage for a Fognini-Ivan Dodig finale.

Fognini dropped the first set before charging back for a crowd-pleasing 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Dodig in 2 hours, 52 minutes. Dodig lost despite firing 17 aces, as Fognini piled up six service breaks for the winners.

On Saturday, an Italian doubles duo of Fognini and Simone Bolelli beat a Croatian tandem of Cilic and Dodig in four sets to give the hosts the 2-1 lead.

Cilic won the opening point for Croatia on Friday with a five-set triumph over Paolo Lorenzi, who played singles in place of Fognini on Day 1. Seppi then beat Dodig in four sets to level the tie at 1-1.

Italy is now 1-2 all-time against Croatia. Both nations own one Davis Cup title apiece.

The Italians, who reached the quarterfinals for the first time in 15 years, will visit Canada in April.