Get the lowdown on the teams battling it out in Bologna. 

The bustling city of Bologna in northern Italy hosts Group A for September’s Group Stage of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals. 2021 finalists Croatia, home favourite Italy, ambitious Argentina and a resurgent Sweden will battle it out for a place in the Knockout Stage in November.

Action in the Unipol Arena starts on 13 September with Argentina taking on Sweden, concluding on 18 September with the Swedes facing hosts Italy.

CROATIA

How Croatia got to the Finals: 
As runner-up in 2021, Croatia qualified automatically for the Davis Cup Finals 2022. 

Davis Cup pedigree:
Croatia made its debut as a nation in the Davis Cup in 1993. Up until then, Croatian players represented Yugoslavia. Croatia has lifted the trophy twice - once in 2005 with a 3-2 victory over Slovakia in Bratislava, and then in 2018 in Lille, where they defeated France 3-1.

They came close in 2016, finishing runners-up to Argentina, and again at last year’s edition when they were edged out by the Russian Tennis Federation in the final. 

Potential ones to watch:
Croatia’s star player is undoubtedly Marin Cilic. The 33-year-old played his first Davis Cup match in 2006 and has been a key member of the squad ever since, helping the team celebrate that second title in 2018. A junior Grand Slam champion in 2005 with victory at Roland-Garros, 17 years later in 2022 Cilic made the semi-final in Paris, losing out in four sets to Denmark’s Casper Ruud. With a US Open title from 2014, an Olympic silver medal in doubles from Tokyo 2020 and 20 ATP career titles under his belt, Cilic’s experience is a real bonus for the team. 

But there’s more to the Croatians than just Cilic. Borna Gojo and Nino Serdarusic, while currently ranked outside the top 100, both stepped up to score victories at the finals in 2021 as Croatia progressed through to the final. 

And let’s not forget Croatia’s not-so-secret weapon of doubles pairing Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic. With 13 ATP titles together as well as a gold medal from Tokyo 2020 (where the pair defeated Cilic and Ivan Dodig in the final), Croatia will always be looking to pick up a point in the doubles. 

Did you know?
Croatia was the first unseeded nation to win the Davis Cup, defeating Slovakia in the 2005 final.

Croatia celebrate victory in 2018

ITALY

How they got to the Finals: 
Italy secured its place in this year’s Finals with a hard-fought 3-2 qualifiers victory over Slovakia in Bratislava. 

Davis Cup pedigree:
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Italy’s first appearance in the Davis Cup although the side has won the Davis Cup on only one occasion – in 1976 when they beat Chile in Santiago. The team has come close as runner-up on six occasions, most recently in 1998 when they were beaten in the final by Sweden.

Italy finished top of their group at the Finals in 2021 before being knocked out by Croatia in the quarter-finals.

Potential ones to watch:
Italy currently has five players ranked in the top 100 giving captain Filippo Volandri a wealth of choice. Top-ranked Jannik Sinner took his sixth ATP title in Croatia this year and reached the quarter-finals at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Matteo Berrettini is also an obvious choice, the 26-year-old having successfully defended his Queen’s Club title in London this year to add to reaching the final at Wimbledon in 2021. 

Lorenzo Musetti won his first ATP title in July this with victory over Spain's Carlos Alcaraz in Hamburg, and let’s not forget perennial fan favourite and passionate Davis Cup supporter Fabio Fognini, who has been representing his country in the competition since 2008.  

Did you know?
Italian player Nicola Pietrangeli holds the record for the most Davis Cup wins with a total win-loss record of 120-44 over 66 Davis Cup ties. 

Italy celebrate their 2022 Qualifiers win over Slovakia

Italy celebrate their 2022 Qualifiers win over Slovakia

ARGENTINA

How they got to the Finals:
Having missed out in 2021, Argentina qualified for the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals thanks to a 4-0 win against the Czech Republic in Buenos Aires. 

Davis Cup pedigree:
Argentina made its Davis Cup debut in 1923 and first contested the final in 1981, when the team travelled to Cincinnati to take on the USA, finishing as runners-up. There would be several more runner-up places before they finally lifted the trophy in 2016 with a 3-2 victory over Croatia in Zagreb. 

Potential ones to watch:
Argentina is another team with strength in depth – currently with six players in the top 100. By far the star of the show is 29-year-old Diego Schwartzman who reached the semi-finals at Roland-Garros in 2020 and has scored wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime this year. 

Also in the Argentinian camp are Francisco Cerundolo, who won his first ATP title in Bastad this year with a run that included wins over Ruud, Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta and compatriot Sebastian Baez. Baez took the title in Estoril this year, seeing off Cilic, Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the semi-final and Frances Tiafoe of the USA in the final.  Not forgetting one of the best doubles players today, 37-year-old Horacio Zeballos, world number 3 in the doubles world ranking.

Did you know?
Argentina lost four finals (1981, 2006, 2008 and 2011) before finally lifting the Davis Cup trophy in 2016.

Champions in 2016

SWEDEN

How they got to the Finals: 
Sweden’s qualifier against Japan in Helsingborg was a hard-fought battle that went right down to the fifth match, with Sweden edging the Japanese thanks to an impressive performance from Elias Ymer who won both his singles as well as the doubles. 

Davis Cup pedigree:
With a first appearance in 1925, Sweden has a rich history in the Davis Cup having won seven titles in total, with six of those during a golden period in the 1980s and 1990s, finishing as runner-up a further five times. The Swedes failed to make the first new-format Davis Cup by Rakuten finals in 2019, but made it through to the quarter-finals in 2021, falling to eventual champions Russian Tennis Federation. 

Potential ones to watch:
Although they have no players ranked in the top 100, Elias Ymer regularly punches above his weight and, as this year’s qualifiers proves, he can step up to the big occasion. His younger brother Mikael has scored wins over top-20 opponents this year, including France's Gael Monfils in Montpellier and Britain's Dan Evans at Roland-Garros.

Did you know?
Sweden is fifth on the list of most Davis Cup wins with seven titles between 1975 and 1998.

Sweden celebrate victory over Japan in the 2022 Qualifiers

Sweden celebrate victory over Japan in the 2022 Qualifiers

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