Davis Cup: Andy Murray loses in straight sets to let slip Great Britain's advantage and send Italy tie into quarter-final decider

Murray had given Great Britain a 2-1 lead on Saturday but Fabio Fognin's 6-3 6-3 6-4 win on Sunday put the pressure on James Ward to beat Andreas Seppi

Fabio Fognini beat Andy Murray in straight sets to send Great Britain's Davis Cup quarter-final against Italy into a deciding rubber in Naples.

Britain took a 2-1 lead into the final day after Murray completed his singles win over Andreas Seppi on Saturday and then teamed up with Colin Fleming to beat Fognini and Simone Bolelli in a tense doubles clash.

That left Murray knowing a 20th consecutive singles win in Davis Cup would send Leon Smith's team through to a first semi-final since 1981.

But Fognini is one of the best players in the world on clay and his extra nous on the surface came to the fore as he triumphed 6-3 6-3 6-4.

The tie therefore came down to a clash between world number 34 Seppi and Britain's James Ward, ranked 161st and bidding for the biggest win of his life.

Fognini's volatile side had been to the fore over the first two days and he was in full gesticulating mode at the start on Sunday as Murray broke serve in the first game and moved into a 3-1 lead.

But Fognini began to show the huge talent he possesses and he reeled off five straight games to take the first set.

Murray was having to withstand a great deal of pressure, which he managed until 3-3 in the second set.

He had two chances to break Fognini in the sixth game but the world number 13 held on and then broke Murray twice in succession, the Scot ending the set with a double fault.

Murray looked weary, not surprising given the amount of tennis he played on Saturday, while he had been laid low before the tie because of a stomach virus.

The third set was tight as well, but Fognini always seemed to have the upper hand and he struck with Murray serving to stay in the match.

The Wimbledon champion saved two match points, but found the net on the third to send the raucous Naples crowd into raptures.

It was Murray's first singles defeat in Davis Cup since losing to Stanislas Wawrinka in 2005.

Fognini told the BBC: "I just played better than Andy. We know this sport is really difficult and Andy played a lot yesterday. It was an important point for me especially and for Italy. I did my best and I played unbelievably."

PA

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence