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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Caption competition
Caption competition
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.

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project