Pouille defeats Fognini, leads France to Davis Cup semis

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Genoa (Italy), April 9 (IANS) French tennis player Lucas Pouille has led his team to the Davis Cup semifinals 3-1 after defeating Italy’s Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

Pouille, world No. 11, needed three hours to defeat 20th-ranked Fognini, moving France one step closer to defending their title, reports Efe.

France is scheduled to play either Spain or Germany for a place in the final on September 14-16.

Fognini started the match strong, taking the opener 6-2, but saw his advantage vanish as Pouille clinched the second in less than half an hour.

In the key third set, Fognini squandered a 3-0 lead and failed to hold serve when he was one game away from sealing it at 5-3.

The Italian player may also regret the three set points he failed to convert at 5-4, as the set went into a tiebreak, which he eventually lost 7-3.

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Pouille stormed 3-0 into the fourth set, but Fognini rallied back to level the set at 3-3.

Pouille, however, ruthlessly went on to win the next three games, sending France to the semifinals.

On Friday, Pouille held off Andreas Seppi’s comeback to win 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1 and give France a 1-0 advantage, while Fognini had defeated Jeremy Chardy 6-7 (6-8), 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 to draw the teams level.

The French pair of Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert did their part on Saturday, defeating the Italian duo of Fognini and Simone Bolelli 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.

–IANS

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