The 2018 International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, Quarterfinals here.
ProTV, who was the associate producer of the 2018 ITF Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and charged with producing the super feed for the First Round matches, is now producing the last superfeed of the World Group Quaterfinals season in the beIN SPORTS gallery. It is now live until 7:30 pm.
The superfeed is created due to the different time zones and locations the events are taking place. The superfeed is seen on a multiplex screen, which shows a combination of live games and the high lights of those that have finished. This allows tele-spectators, information on all games, at their own time throughout the day.
The Davis Cup is now the largest annual international team competition in sport, with 132 nations entered in 2018. The best 16 nations compete in the “World Group” and the others compete in one of the three regional “Zone groups” namely; Americas, Asia/Oceania and Europe/Africa. The competition is spread over four weekends during the year. Each elimination round between competing nations is held in one of the countries, and is played as the best of five matches (4 singles, 1 doubles).
This year’s quarterfinalists are; Italy and France, who are playing in Valleta Cambiaso ASD, Italy (Clay outdoor); Spain and Germany, who are playing in Plaza de Toros de Valencia, Valencia, Spain.
According to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas website, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut dismantled Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli in straight sets in Saturday’s all-important doubles to give France a crucial 2-1 lead in their World Group quarterfinal clash with Italy in Genoa.
The French pair won 64 63 61 in just an hour and 54 minutes to ease the pressure on Lucas Pouille ahead of his blockbuster fourth rubber clash with Fognini on Sunday.
“When you play at one-all in Davis Cup the doubles point is crucial,” said Mahut. “Fognini played unbelievable yesterday and I think (if it gets to) two-all they still have Andreas (Seppi) and Paolo (Lorenzi) – great, great competitors. It was crucial to win today, but there’s still a long way to go.”
They might be one of the best doubles teams in the world, but few could have expected Herbert and Mahut to take apart the Italians in the manner they did.
Fognini and Bolelli – who had beaten the French duo in their only previous meeting to win the 2015 Australian Open – had won seven of the nine Davis Cup rubbers they had played as a pair, and were tipped to rise to the occasion in front of home fans, not to mention friends and family, at Fognini’s boyhood tennis club. As it was, they never got out of first gear.
“Fabio and Bolelli usually play so much better, but today, really they play bad,” conceded Italian captain Corrado Barazzutti. “They played bad, and they played bad against one of the best teams in the world, so the result is this.
“It was a tough point for us, but they can play much better than today.”
Fognini and Bolelli’s failure to trouble the French, who, along with their travelling army of trumpet-playing fans, were on fine form, should take nothing away from Herbert and Mahut, who were in perfect sync throughout Saturday’s third rubber.
“We know each other so well,” said Mahut of his partner, by way of explanation for their clinical display. “We’re playing [together] for so many years now. When it’s really difficult, I know he has my back and he knows I have his back. We were here today for the team, it’s 2-1 and we’re so proud of it.”
Despite the end result, there was little to separate the two teams in the early exchanges, and it was in fact Herbert who showed the first signs of fragility in the sixth game of the opening set – throwing down a double fault at 30-0, before flinging a volley beyond the baseline to give the Italians their first sniff of a break at 30-all. Mahut mopped up for his partner, drilling a smash for 40-30 and following with some nifty net play to keep proceedings on serve and, from then on, Yannick Noah’s men were never really under threat.
Italy’s hopes began to unravel when Bolelli was broken in the ninth game of the opening set, and, if ever there is a terrible time for a double fault – Bolelli found it at 15-30 4-5. Though he saved the first of two break point chances for the French, he was broken a moment later when Herbert drilled a magical cross court forehand winner to clinch the set.
It was Fognini’s turn to hand over his serve early in set two, and suddenly the steam went out of the home team as the French pulled up a 5-1 lead.
The Italians enjoyed a brief purple patch in their attempt to force a fightback, edging a series of thrilling points to break Herbert and keep them in contention, but the damage was already done and Mahut sealed the second set with a deft half-volley pick-up into the tramlines.
The third was one-way traffic, and Herbert and Mahut were rightly chuffed with their day’s work. Their captain certainly was.
“It was an almost perfect match,” admitted Yannick Noah. “It was close at the beginning, they were solid, but by the end of the first set there was only one team on the court. They had a great match. It’s probably the best game I’ve seen from them in Davis Cup.”
Most important, after their fifth Davis Cup doubles victory together, is that Herbert and Mahut have handed Pouille the chance to win the tie in Sunday’s fourth rubber against Fognini.