Defending Davis Cup champ Argentina KO’ed by Italy

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Defending champion Argentina was knocked out of the Davis Cup in the first round by Italy on Monday.

Italy’s Fabio Fognini defeated Guido Pella in the deciding singles 2-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

The match on outdoor clay was postponed from Sunday because of rain and darkness.

Italy took a 2-0 lead after winning both singles on Friday, but Argentina came back by taking the doubles on Saturday, and the first reverse singles on Sunday, when Carlos Berlocq defeated Paolo Lorenzi 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

Argentina played without top player Juan Martin del Potro, who made himself unavailable to focus on tournament play.

Italy will face Belgium in the quarterfinals in April.