India and Italy will come face-to-face on Saturday in the 108th edition of the Davis Cup. This year will see a brand new format being used for the first time, where all the aspiring teams will play on a single weekend in February to determine who competes in the final to be held at the end of the year.
India last won against Italy in 1985. But they have a very settled side this time, with the potential to cause an upset in the first round.
The two teams will be playing each other after a gap of 21 years; the last time they played was in 1998. The Indian team will present their challenge at Calcutta South Club in Kolkata.
India and Italy have played five times against each so far. The Indian team has managed to win only once and that too on this very ground in 1985. Italy has won the other four ties - in 1928, 1952, 1958 and 1998.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Saketh Myneni, Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will present the challenge for India. On the other hand, Marco Cecchinato, Andreas Seppi, Matteo Berrettini, Thomas Fabbiano and Simone Bolelli will take the court for Italy.
India's number two player Ramanathan will play against Andreas Seppi in the first match of the men's singles whereas the top-seeded Gunneswaran will compete against the 22-year-old debutant Berrettini.
Italy's non-playing captain, Corrado Barazzutti, has decided not to play the World number 19 Marco Cecchinato in singles.
Bopanna will play with Sharan in the doubles. The Indian duo will be up against Italy's Cecchinato and Bolelli.
Here's a look the match schedule.
Ramanathan vs Seppi and Gunneswaran v/s Berrettini (singles)
Bopanna and Sharan vs Bolelli and Cecchinato (doubles)
Gunneswaran vs Seppi and Ramanathan vs Berrettini (singles)
Note: The play on the first day will begin at 11:00 am, whereas it will start at 10:30 am on the next day.
According to the new format of Davis Cup, five matches will be played in two days. On the first day, there will be two singles matches, while two singles and one doubles will be held on the next day. Each team will have an hour before the match to change their combination.
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