Holders Argentina ousted by Italy in Buenos Aires

Holders Argentina ousted by Italy in Buenos Aires

Britain win tie in Canada by default

Fabio Fognini (centre) is mobbed by his Italy team-mates after winning the decider against Argentina.

Fabio Fognini (centre) is mobbed by his Italy team-mates after winning the decider against Argentina.

Argentina’s reign as Davis Cup champions is over after less than three months following a dramatic 3-2 defeat by Italy in Buenos Aires yesterday.

Guido Pella led Fabio Fognini by two sets to love in a deciding rubber held over to yesterday because of rain as the hosts looked set to complete a remarkable comeback.

But Fognini had a final twist up his sleeve and rallied for a 2-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory to send Italy through to a quarter-final against Belgium in April.

Argentina, who won their first Davis Cup title in their fifth final against Croatia in November, looked down and out when they trailed 2-0 on Friday.

Leonardo Mayer and Carlos Berlocq then saved a match point in their doubles victory before Berlocq levelled the tie with another five-set win over Paolo Lorenzi.

Ultimately those heroics proved to be in vain, though, and Argentina now face a play-off in September to hold onto their World Group status.

On Sunday night, Britain reached the last eight in bizarre circumstances when Canadian Denis Shapovalov defaulted for inadvertently blasting a ball into the umpire’s face.

Shapovalov, 17, had lost the first two sets against Kyle Edmund in the fifth and deciding rubber when he hammered the ball away in a fit of rage at 2-1 down in the third set.

Although he meant to hit the ball into the stands, it flew straight into the left eye of umpire Arnaud Gabas.

“It was a strange way to finish,” Edmund told the BBC.

“I’ve never been part of something like that.”

“On paper I had an advantage but you don’t play on paper, you play on a hard court. Anything can happen in the Davis Cup so I’m very pleased.”

The ITF yesterday said that the teenager had been fined a total of $7,000 for the incident – $2,000 for being defaulted and $5,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct.

He escaped the maximum penalty of $12,000 because his action had not been intentional.

The win capped a fine comeback for Britain, who had come into the day leading 2-1 before Pospisil levelled the world group first round tie with a 7-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 win over Dan Evans.

Quarter-final line-up
Belgium vs Italy; Australia vs USA; France vs Britain; Serbia vs Spain.

Ties to be played on April 7-9.

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