Davis Cup: Kukushkin beats Seppi to force decider
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) Kazakhstan completed a 3-2 win over Italy in their Davis Cup first round match Sunday as Alexander Nedovesov upset Italian No. 1 Fabio Fognini in the deciding rubber.
Host team Kazakhstan bounced back from 2-1 down after Saturday's doubles to reach the quarterfinals for the third year in a row and will now meet Australia in July.
Italy's defeat is a disappointment for a team which reached last year's semifinals before losing to eventual champion Switzerland and Roger Federer. The Italians now face a playoff for the right to stay in the top-tier World Group.
World No. 130 Nedovesov was a surprise winner in Sunday's decider, when he faced an opponent ranked 108 places higher, but still managed to win 7-6 (5), 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 after a match lasting almost 3 3/4 hours.
Nedovesov converted his match point with an ace, but his serve needed to be confirmed by the video review system as having brushed the outside line. That prompted wild celebrations at the National Tennis Center in the Kazakh capital Astana as the Ukraine-born Nedovesov was tossed into the air by the rest of the Kazakh players and coaches.
Earlier Sunday Kazakh No. 1 Mikhail Kukushkin beat Andreas Seppi in straight sets to level the tie at 2-2. Following a lengthy first-set tiebreaker, Kukushkin had all the momentum as he won 7-6 (8), 6-0, 6-4.
Kukushkin gave Seppi just one break opportunity during the match, while converting five of the 10 chances offered him by the Italian. Seppi was let down by 55 unforced errors against 28 for Kukushkin.
The match started Friday with Kukushkin beating Simone Bolelli in the first singles rubber, before Seppi leveled the score with a win over Andrei Golubev. Saturday's doubles saw Fognini and Bolelli beat Golubev and Nedovesov.