VINCENZO PINTO/Getty Images
France made light work of Italy in the doubles meeting of their 2018 Davis Cup quarter-final on Saturday and reclaimed a 2-1 lead in their last-eight meeting.
Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert took on an Italian pairing of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini and emerged 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 victors in Valencia. Paolo Lorenzi was set to feature but was replaced by Fognini in a late switch.
Spanish duo Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez face Germans Jan-Lennard Struff and Tim Puetz, while Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic of Croatia take on the Kazakh team of Timur Khabibulin and Aleksandr Nedovyesov.
Later on Saturday, the United States host Belgium and will hope a tandem of Jack Sock and Ryan Harrison has what it takes to defeat Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen.
The Davis Cup quarter-final singles action will resume on Sunday, including a high-profile collision between Spain’s Rafael Nadal and German starlet Alexander Zverev.
Read on for a roundup of Saturday’s doubles action as we edge closer to discovering which nations will feature in this year’s semi-finals.
France 2-1 Italy
Nicolas Mahut/Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) bt. Fabio Fognini/Simone Bolelli (ITA): 6-4, 6-3, 6-1
Spain 1-1 Germany
Feliciano Lopez/Marc Lopez (ESP) vs. Jan-Lennard Struff/Tim Puetz (GER), TBD
Croatia 1-1 Kazakhstan
Ivan Dodig/Nikola Mektic (CRO) vs. Timur Khabibulin/Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ), TBD
United States 1-1 Belgium
Jack Sock/Ryan Harrison (USA) vs. Sander Gille/Joran Vliegen (BEL), 5 p.m. ET
Visit the Davis Cup website for a breakdown of the full draw.
Fognini made the decision to come into Italy’s doubles lineup on Saturday in a bid to play three days in succession for his country, but it went to waste as he couldn’t help France sauntering to a straight-sets win.
The likes of Andreas Seppi and Lorenzi sat out for Italy, while France could afford to hold back their two biggest weapons in Lucas Pouille and Jeremy Chardy and still come away with the win.
France won seven of the 10 break points they faced, per the official Davis Cup website, and contributed only 42 overall errors to Italy’s 54.
Herbert was the best player on the court, while neither Fognini or Bolelli showed many signs of getting out of second gear, and tennis writer Jose Morgado hailed the decisive nature of their win:
José Morgado @josemorgado
Italy 🇮🇹 1-2 France 🇫🇷: Herbert/Mahut easily beat Fognini and Bolelli in a battle of Slam champs, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1
Fognini’s tactic to play three days in succession could prove Italy’s undoing on Sunday, when a loss to Pouille in the first match could see his nation slip to 3-1 down and out of the competition.