Thursday, 23 November 2023, 22:09
The Costa del Sol's impassioned Dutch contingency were finally silenced after Italy outplayed Netherlands in a topsy-turvy Davis Cup tie on day three of the round-robin tennis tournament in Malaga.
But the Dutch fans can hold their heads high as their country, despite being a clear underdog against the Italians, spearheaded by world number four Jannick Sinner, proved to be tough competitors. Botic Van de Zandschulp put Netherlands 1-0 up after winning a tight battle against Matteo Arnaldi that lasted almost three hours at the Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena on Thursday. The Dutchman saved multiple match points as he scored a titanic 6-7, 6-3, 7-6 victory.
Sinner, coming off the best season of his career and an all-time high ranking, steered Italy back into the tie with a comfortable 7-6, 6-1 win against the lower-ranked Tallon Griekspoor. Sinner was called back for the decisive doubles tie and played with Lorenzo Sonego. The Italian pairing were too good for their Dutch opponents Tallon Griekspoor and Wesley Koolhof, winning the match 6-3, 6-4 and the tie 2-1.
Italy, who were in striking distance of their first final since 1998 but lost against a buoyant Canada in the semi-finals last year, return to the last four and keep their Davis Cup dream alive. They will play the winner of tonight's tie between Great Britain and Serbia.
If Serbia win, Italy's top talent Sinner could face world number one Novak Djokovic in what would be a blockbuster affair. Sinner snapped the 24-time grand slam champion's 19-match winning streak at the Niito ATP World Championships in Turin just a week ago.
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