Almaty: Aleksandr Nedovyesov won a marathon five-setter as hosts Kazakhstan squeezed into the Davis Cup quarter-finals with a tight 3-2 win over Italy on Sunday.
Nedovyesov, 28, sealed the winning rubber against Fabio Fognini 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 after Mikhail Kukushkin earlier beat Andreas Seppi 7-6 (10/8), 6-0, 6-4.
Kazakhstan had trailed overnight after Fognini and Simone Bolelli gave Italy a 2-1 advantage in Saturday`s doubles, beating Andrey Golubev and Nedovyesov 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 6-7 (13/15), 6-4.
On Friday, Seppi beat Golubev 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2 to draw Italy level at 1-1 after Kukushkin beat Bolelli 7-6 (8/6), 6-1, 6-2 in the opening match.
Both teams made changes going into the final rubber, with Fognini, who had recently beaten Rafael Nadal replacing Bolelli.
Davis Cup singles debutant Nedovyesov replaced Golubev and battled for three hours 41 minutes on Astana`s National Tennis Centre.
"It was a really intense game and the match point was the most complicated moment for me," said Nedovyesov.
"After I won the deciding point I just switched off a computer in my head. I believe I deserved a vacation."
Both players held serve in the opening set, forcing a tiebreak which Nedovyesov won to gain a one-set lead in 48 minutes.
But 22nd-ranked Fognini replied positively and took two consecutive sets for a 2-1 advantage.
In the fourth Nedovyesov broke early and kept his narrow lead to level 2-2 after two hours 50 minutes on court.
In the deciding set Nedovyesov broke twice for a commanding 4-1 lead but Fognini moved up a gear to break back twice to level at four games all.
But Nedovyesov, spurred by the home crowd, broke again in the 11th game minutes before he won the set, the match and a pass for Kazakhstan into a Davis Cup quarter-final showdown against Australia.
Earlier Kukushkin beat Seppi in straight sets in two hours two minutes to put Kazakhstan level at 2-2.
The opponents started nervously, trading breaks halfway into the opening set, which Kukushkin, ranked 58th, won in a tiebreak.
In the second set, 27-year-old Kukushkin was in complete command taking the set at love to make it 2-0 after one hour 28 minutes.
Kukushkin underlined his supremacy in the third as he broke Seppi`s serve immediately and kept his lead to level the match scores.
"It will be very important if we manage to win this tie," Kukushkin said.
"Personally I`m very happy to beat two players in the Top 50. These two wins are among the most important in my career.
"The first set was very difficult. But after winning it I began playing with much more confidence. Luckily I managed to break early in the third and kept my lead to win the rubber."