MORIOKA, Japan — Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini defeated Ben McLachlan and Yasutaka Uchiyama in Saturday’s doubles as Italy took a 2-1 lead over Japan in the first round of the Davis Cup.

After splitting Friday’s opening singles, Italy gained the advantage after a 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3), 7-5 doubles victory.

The winning country advances to the quarterfinals while the loser will have to win a playoff to remain in next year’s World Group.

Japan must now win both Sunday’s reverse singles to advance and end a three-year drought that includes losses to Canada, Britain and France.

Italy is bidding to reach the quarterfinals for the fifth time in six years.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.