Diego Nargiso saved Italy from a 5-0 whitewash when he beat Sweden's Magnus Norman 6-2, 6-3 in the final singles of the Davis Cup final on Sunday.
Magnus Gustafssonvictory salvaged some pride for the home side whose defeat, their sixth in seven Cup final appearances, was sealed on Saturday.
Sweden beat the United States 5-0 in last year's final and they have now won a record six titles since the competition was revamped in 1981 with the introduction of the World Group.
Gustafsson needed just over an hour to beat the Italian reserve player before a subdued crowd.
| The Italian team said it will boycott next year's Davis Cup if team captain Paolo Bertolucci is not retained. (AP) |
Gustafsson had crushed Sanguinetti 6-1, 6-4, 6-0 on Friday after Norman had overcome Andrea Gaudenzi in an epic five-setter in the opening match. Gaudenzi retired with a shoulder injury at 6-6 in the ifth set and will now have an operation.
Nargiso, ranked 130 in the world and normally a doubles player, caught baseliner Norman off guard on the clay surface with his serve-and-volleys and low passing shots.
He broke the Swede's serve in the third and seventh games of the first set.
Norman's concentration waned and Nargiso, urged on by a reinvigorated crowd of 5,000 at Milan's Forum di Assago, broke in the fourth game of the second set and continued to outsmart his opponent with a mixture of volleys and dropshots.
The Italian held a single finger aloft to the crowd in celebration of his side's solitary consolation victory.
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