Tennis – Davis Cup Quarter-Final – Italy v Croatia – Pala Alpitour, Turin, Italy – November 29, 2021 Croatia’s Borna Gojo celebrates winning his match against Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
November 29, 2021
TURIN (Reuters) -Jannik Sinner kept alive Italy’s hopes in their Davis Cup Finals last-eight tie against Croatia when he battled back from the brink of defeat to beat Marin Cilic on Monday.
Italy were in big trouble after Borna Gojo produced another shock to beat Lorenzo Sonego and give Croatia the lead, and then Cilic served for the match against Sinner.
But the 20-year-old Sinner fought back to the delight of most of the fans in Turin’s Pala Alpitour Arena, claiming a thrilling 3-6 7-6(4) 6-3 victory.
Former U.S. Open champion Cilic served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but wavered badly to let his Italian opponent off the hook. Sinner was rock-solid in the tiebreak to take the match into a decider in which he broke serve in the first game.
Cilic did respond with a break back but from 3-3 in the deciding set Sinner took charge to claim a great win.
The tie will be decided by a doubles clash between Croatia’s world number one pairing of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic and Italian duo Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli.
Earlier, the 23-year-old Gojo, ranked 279th in the world, blocked out the partisan Italian crowd to beat top-30 player Sonego 7-6(2) 2-6 6-2.
Gojo looked tight early on and found himself 4-1 down in the first set but hit back impressively to claim the tiebreak.
Sonego looked to have turned the tide when he eased through the second set but Gojo, serving brilliantly, forged ahead in the decider and showed great resilience to save break points and hold a marathon service game serve at 4-2.
Gojo, who upset Australia’s higher-ranked Alexei Popyrin in the group phase last week, claimed victory when Sonego struck a forehand over the baseline.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris and Clare Fallon)