No.27 Martina Trevisan fought off an inspired performance from No.321 Malene Helgo, while Lorenzo Musetti knocked off Viktor Durasovic to give Italy a 2-0 lead against Norway on Day 5 of the United Cup in Brisbane.
The 29-year-old Trevisan needed over three hours to dispatch the Norwegian, winning 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 to post her first win of the season.
Musetti made his way past World No. 343 Durasovic 7-6(7), 6-2. Musetti faced set point at 6-7 in the first-set tiebreak, but Durasovic was unable to control a backhand passing shot up the line.
After defeating Brazil 3-2 in their opening tie, Italy needs a victory over Norway to advance to the Brisbane City Finals. If Norway can engineer an the comeback against the No.5 seeds, then Brazil will finish at the top of Group E and advance to Wednesday's City Finals.
Helgo, who made her WTA Tour debut in her opening loss to Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia, gave the heavily favored Italians a scare. Behind her phenomenal ball-striking from the baseline, the 23-year-old played well above her sub-300 ranking to build an early 5-2 lead over Trevisan.
But the 2022 French Open semifinalist dug in to pull off a gritty comeback to take the opening set. Trevisan used her physicality and court vision to extend the points and shrink the court for Helgo, who began to misfire under pressure. The Italian saved two set points en route to running off five consecutive games to take the first set.
Undeterred, Helgo again built an early lead on the Italian veteran in the second set. This time she would not relinquish it. The final set was another see-saw set, as Helgo clawed her way back from a 4-1 deficit to level at 4-4 before Trevisan was able to break her one last time to seal the hard-fought win after 3 hours and 2 minutes.
For Musetti, it was his second win of the United Cup. The 20-year-old is at a career-high No. 23 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
Matteo Berrettini has a chance to clinch the tie and victory in Group E for Italy when he plays World No. 3 Casper Ruud on Tuesday. If Berrettini falls short, the pressure to clinch will fall on Lucia Bronzetti, who takes on Ulrikke Eikeri.