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Taylor Fritz keeps U.S. hopes alive in Davis Cup Finals

Spain Tennis Davis Cup

US Taylor Fritz returns the ball to Italy’s Matteo Berrettini during their Davis Cup tennis match in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)


MADRID -- Taylor Fritz kept the U.S. hopes alive in the Davis Cup Finals by defeating Matteo Berrettini 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-2 on Wednesday, leveling the series at 1-1.

Sam Querrey and Jack Sock will try to give the U.S. the victory in the decisive doubles match against Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini.

Only a victory can keep the Americans with a chance of advancing as one of the two-best second-place finishers from the six groups. The U.S. lost to Canada in its opening series on Tuesday - its first Davis Cup defeat against the North American neighbors.

Italy, which also needs the victory to have a chance of advancing from Group F, took a 1-0 lead after Fognini defeated Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3 earlier Wednesday.

Fritz took control of his match after the eighth-ranked Berrettini appeared to injure a leg muscle early in the third set.

“I’m excited for Taylor,” U.S. team captain Mardy Fish said. “That’s one of the biggest wins of his life.”

The doubles match was expected to start at 1:15 a.m. (7:15 p.m. ET, 0015 GMT) local time in the Spanish capital.

If the U.S. is eliminated, it will equal its longest gap between Davis Cup titles, with its last one coming in 2007.

The U.S. sent to Madrid its youngest Davis Cup team in a decade, with 22-year-olds Fritz and Opelka making their tournament debuts. Fritz was the team’s highest-ranked player at No. 32.

The new Davis Cup is being played in a World Cup-style format with all 18 teams playing in a single venue in the same week, instead of the head-to-head confrontations that used to take place at varied sites over four weekends throughout the year.