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Davis Cup Final: Australia v Italy preview

Australia are just one win away from claiming a 29th Davis Cup triumph, with Italy the team standing in their way after springing a semi-final surprise against Serbia.

The Aussies last claimed the trophy back in 2003, when current captain Lleyton Hewitt was the inspiration on court, while the Italians are hoping to win the Davis Cup for just the second time in their history - with their lone success having come back in 1976.

And Italy are the hot fancy at 1.40 to triumph in Malaga, with Australia definite outsiders at 2.75.

WhatAustralia v Italy, Davis Cup final
WhereMartin Carpena Arena, Malaga, Spain.
WhenFrom 02:00 AEST, Monday 27th November 2023
How to watchNine
OddsAustralia 2.75, Italy 1.40

Popyrin makes an instant impact

Alex de Minaur continues to be the rock on which the Aussie team is founded, but late call-up Alexei Popyrin stepped in to make a vital contribution in the 2-0 semi-final win over 2023 surprise packages Finland.

He took down the previously outstanding Otto Virtanen 7-6 6-2 in the opening singles rubber, before De Minaur completed the job with a match to spare as he saw off Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4 6-3.

That meant that doubles pairing Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell head into the showdown with the Italians well-rested, having been called on to seal the quarter-final success over Czech Republic.

It seems highly unlikely that Hewitt will tinker with his line-up after such a comprehensive victory in the last four, with De Minaur having now won four singles matches in a row.

He occupies the second singles rubber with some authority, so it will be interesting to see whether Italy are happy to put Sinner up against him in the final.

Sinner the saint for Italians

Jannik Sinner missed the final qualifying stage of the tournament, but has returned for the knockouts and has been the inspiration behind Italy making it to the showpiece final.

Italy lost the opening singles rubber against both the Netherlands and then Serbia, before Sinner won both of his matches and then teamed up with Lorenzo Sonego for crucial doubles successes in successive 2-1 victories.

His efforts against Serbia were particularly impressive, as he saved three match points against world number one Novak Djokovic and eventually sealed a 6-2 2-6 7-5 win, before he and Sonego downed Djokovic and Miomir Kecmanovic 6-3 6-4 in the decisive doubles.

Most people would be more than happy to beat Djokovic once in a day, Sinner managed to do it twice.

Positive signs aplenty for Aussies

Much of the pre-match talk will be of the potential showdown between De Minaur and Sinner, but Popyrin is set for an opportunity to put a win on the board if, as expected, he takes on Lorenzo Musetti, who lost to Kecmanovic in the opening match against Serbia.

Should Popyrin get the job done, then De Minaur may have a chance to seal the triumph, however, should that not happen then Ebden and Purcell will be relishing their opportunity to take centre stage.

If the doubles is required, Sinner will be playing his fourth match in just two days, so fatigue could very well become a factor.

Australia had a day of rest on Saturday as the Italians battled hard to take down Serbia, so Hewitt’s players should be well-rested and raring to go.

Also on the side of an Aussie success is the fact that they have won eight of the previous 12 Davis Cup clashes with Italy, while they have never lost to the Italians on any other surface apart from clay.

Australia have already caused a big shock by winning the Cricket World Cup and the Davis Cup could be added to the list on Monday.

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