Almaty: Fabio Fognini and Paolo Lorenzi gave Italy a crucial 2-1 lead over Kazakhstan in their Davis Cup World Group first round tie by winning the doubles rubber on Saturday.
Fognini and Lorenzi, the Australian Open champions, beat Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 6-7 (13/15), 6-4 in a match which lasted three hours and 18 minutes.
"It was a tough match," Italy`s skipper Corrado Barazzutti said.
"The hosts played very well but we were just a bit better. They (Fognini and Lorenzi) are Australian Open champions and it speaks for itself."
The Italians started confidently, going ahead in the fifth game by breaking Nedovyesov`s serve, only for the hosts to break back on Fognini`s serve in the eighth game to force a tie-break, which the Italians took with relative ease.
In the second set, the Italians retained the upper hand and their ability to claim the crucial points paid off as they broke Golubev`s serve in the eighth game to go two sets up after one hour and 33 minutes on court.
Golubev and Nedovyesov hit back to take the third set 15-13 in the tie-break.
But the Italians made the decisive breakthrough in the 10th game of the fourth set, clinching the rubber when Nedovyesov sent a low volley into the net.
On Friday, Andreas Seppi beat Golubev 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2 to draw Italy level at 1-1 after Mikhail Kukushkin had given Kazakhstan the lead with a straight-sets win over Simone Bolelli 7-6 (8/6), 6-1, 6-2.