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17 December 2012

Bigger venue for Italian Job


Photo: Giampiero SpositoAndreas Seppi (ITA)

The Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first round tie between Italy and Croatia has been moved to a bigger venue in Turin.

The Federazione Italiana Tennis has decided to move its clash with the 2005 Davis Cup champions to the Palavela, which holds 2,500 more spectators than the previous location – the Palaruffini.

Originally built for the Italia ’61 Exposition, the Palavela was given a facelift for the figure skating and short track speed skating events at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. The venue tends to host more winter sports but has held various basketball events, including the 2008-09 Eurocup.

The Palavela also has iconic film status, after three Minis drove over its distinctive roof in the 1969 movie The Italian Job.

Italy and Croatia have met on two previous occasions, with the latter coming out on top both times despite the encounters being close-fought affairs. The most recent match-up came in 2008 when Mario Ancic defeated Simone Bolelli in the decisive fifth rubber.

Italy kept their place in the World Group after Andreas Seppi led them to victory over Chile in September’s play-offs with a little help from Fabio Fognini. The Italians might have a proud history in the competition but they have not won a World Group tie since 1998 when they went all the way to the final.

Croatia will be competing in the World Group for the fifth straight year and looking to build on their run to the quarterfinals in 2012, when they were defeated by Argentina at Parque Roca. The tie in Italy will mark their fourth consecutive away trip having won on the road against South Africa and Japan before the loss in Buenos Aires.

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