Astana, Kazakhstan (SportsNetwork.com) - Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli gave Italy the lead in its Davis Cup first-round tie against Kazakhstan on Saturday with a crucial doubles victory.
Fognini and Bolelli earned a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-7 (13-15), 6-4 triumph over Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov to give Italy a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-five series.
The Italians need only one victory in Sunday's reverse singles action to advance to the quarterfinals, while the Kazakhs will have to sweep Sunday's matches.
Andreas Seppi will have the first opportunity to clinch it for Italy on Sunday against Mikhail Kukushkin. Both were winners Friday. Kukushkin gave the hosts the first point with a 7-6 (8-6), 6-1, 6-2 victory over Bolelli before Seppi evened it for the Italians with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2 triumph over Golubev.
Bolelli and Golubev are currently slated to meet in a potential fifth rubber, but Fognini could get a call Sunday if needed.
Fognini sat out the first day of singles and was fresh for Saturday. He and Bolelli managed to squeeze out the first set in a tiebreaker by winning the final three points, then broke Golubev in the ninth game of the second set before a Bolelli hold at love.
There were no breaks in the third set and the tiebreak went 28 points before the Kazakhs stayed alive. However, it was only for a short time as a break of Nedovyesov in the 10th game of the fourth set sealed the victory for the Italians.
Sunday's winner will advance to a July quarterfinal matchup with either Australia or the Czech Republic.
Italy reached the semifinals of last year's Davis Cup before losing to eventual champion Switzerland and has just one title in its history, coming back in 1976.
Kazakhstan has never won the Davis Cup and last year also fell to Switzerland in the quarterfinals.