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Davis Cup final 2023: Italy beat Australia to win first title for 47 years

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Davis Cup final 2023: Italy beat Australia to win first title for 47 years

Italy had reached the final four times since their win in 1976

A dominant Jannik Sinner outclassed Australia’s Alex de Minaur to help Italy secure their first Davis Cup title for 47 years.

Matteo Arnaldi beat Alexei Popyrin 7-5 2-6 6-4 in a nervy opening singles match to put Italy 1-0 up in Malaga, Spain.

Sinner then backed up his sterling week with a 6-3 6-0 win over De Minaur.

“It has been an incredible feeling for all of us, obviously we are really happy,” Sinner said.

It is the second time Italy have lifted the Davis Cup, having previously won the title in 1976.

There were scenes of jubilation as the Italy team flooded on the court to celebrate with Sinner, who raised his arms in the air after De Minaur’s backhand skewed wide to ensure victory.

Australia were bidding for a 29th Davis Cup title but have now lost back-to-back finals, having been beaten by Canada last year.

Sinner oozes class to secure ‘historic result’

Italy arrived for the final eight with some expectation around them, largely thanks to Sinner’s stellar form.

The 22-year-old has lost just three of his past 23 matches, winning titles in Montpellier, Toronto, Beijing and Vienna, and beat world number one Novak Djokovic in the ATP Finals round-robin stages.

World number four Sinner had already starred for Italy on Saturday, saving three match points against Djokovic to level the tie against Serbia before partnering Lorenzo Sonego to victory in the doubles to book Italy’s final spot.

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“We kept everything together. Yesterday, we were one point from being out and now we can celebrate the win. I think we can all be very, very happy,” said Sinner.

“Huge thanks to Matteo Berrettini too. He’s had a very, very tough year with a lot of injuries and it means a lot to all of us that he came here with his positive energy.”

Sinner set out his intentions early against De Minaur, breaking in the third game before converting his second set point when the Australian overhit a lob.

A ruthless performance in the second set gave De Minaur no hope of a comeback as he struggled on serve, while Sinner revelled in the support from a raucous crowd.

It was a relentless performance from Sinner, who faced just one break point in the match and converted five of his own 10 opportunities.

Arnaldi had got Italy off to a dream start against Popyrin in a tense first singles match.

In a tricky opening set, both players exchanged breaks of serve as Popyrin, ranked 40th in the world, saved set points but was wasteful with his own opportunities, handing the Italian the first set when he pushed a return into the net.

The Australian found his rhythm in the second set, racing to a double-break advantage before serving out to force a decider.

But the nerves that seemed to have dissipated in the second set returned in the third as Popyrin squandered eight break points before Arnaldi seized his moment on Popyrin’s serve, converting his first match point.

“I won one of the most important matches in my life. I don’t know what to say right now,” an emotional Arnaldi said on court after his victory.

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Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni posted on X: “A historic result – congratulations to our players for the talent and commitment they have shown and also to all the staff.”

Analysis

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller in Malaga

The head-to-head record – that was Sinner’s sixth win out of six against De Minaur – suggested an Italian win, but the manner of the 22-year-old’s victory was quite breathtaking.

A perfect five wins in a week, one of them from three match points down to Djokovic in Saturday’s semi-final, underlined Sinner’s late-season brilliance.

Djokovic won the Davis Cup with Serbia as a 23-year-old and never looked back. Will we one day say similar about Sinner?

In many ways, though, the hero of the day was another 22-year-old – the world number 44 Arnaldi, who fought off break points left, right and centre before pinching victory against Popyrin.

The atmosphere all week was fabulous. Debate about the best format for the competition will continue, but there can be no doubt Malaga and the International Tennis Federation put on a great show.

Matteo Berrettini was there to celebrate with his compatriots but missed out on the tournament through injury

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