Evenly matched Italy and Argentina meet in Davis Cup

Jan. 30, 2014 at 11:28 AM
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MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Italian Fabio Fognini is to meet Argentina's Carlos Berlocq in the first match of what is expected to be a tightly contested first-round Davis Cup series.

Italy's singles players Fognini and Andreas Seppi are in the Top 31 of the rankings while Berlocq and Juan Monaco, slated to play singles for Argentina, are in the Top 40.

Even the doubles nominees -- Simone Bolelli and Filippo Volandri for Italy and Eduardo Schwank and Horacio Zeballos for Argentina -- have comparable rankings.

The winner of the Italy-Argentina series advances to the Davis Cup quarterfinals April 4-6 against the winner of a first-round series between Great Britain and the United States.

Seppi is 15-14 in Davis Cup play, going 2-2 last year. Berlocq is 3-4 (0-2 in doubles). Seppi won the only time he and Berlocq played.

Monaco won all three of his previous matches versus Fognini and is 11-11 in Davis Cup play. Fognini's Davis Cup record is a healthy 12-4 (10-3 singles) with two loses in last year's quarterfinals against Canada.

Berlocq and Seppi begin the best-of-five series with Fognini and Monaco also playing Friday. Saturday's schedule calls for the Bolelli-Volandri versus Schwank-Zeballos doubles match with the series ending Sunday with Fognini meeting Berlocq and Seppi going against Monaco in the series finale.

Argentina is a four-time Davis Cup runner-up, most recently losing 3-1 in the finals to Spain in 2011. Italy won the 1976 Davis Cup title and is a six-time second-place finisher, although the Italians haven't played for the title since 1998.

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