Tennis. Another team triumph of the Russians this season

This is another great success of the Russians. At the beginning of the year, they won the new team competition (this was the second edition), held in Australia, the ATP Cup. Now they triumphed in a much more prestigious, though recently introduced changes not recognized by some tennis players, the Davis Cup.

There is no coincidence in this. The top 10 of the ATP ranking includes two Russians – Daniil Medvedev (2nd) and Andrei Rublev (5th), Aslan Karacev is 18th and Karen Khachanov – 29th. All four joined the Davis Cup final tournament. Yevgeny Donskoy was also entered into the team.

In the group stage, Russia defeated Ecuador and Spain. The match against Spain, the defenders of the 2019 title, was extremely exciting and full of surprising events. In the first match, Rublev lost to 40-year-old Feliciano Lopez, and in the second, Medvedev had to struggle with Pablo Carena Busta. The winner of the US Open was booed by the Madrid public, but as he said, it “turned him on”. Equally fierce was the decisive doubles, in which Karacew and Rublow defeated Marcel Granolles and Lopez in three sets.

In the quarter-finals, the Russians easily won 2-0 against Sweden, and on Saturday in the semi-finals against Germany (without Zverev in the squad) 2-1.

Croatia was Russia’s unexpected final opponent, defeating Serbia in the semi-final, where Novak Djoković played. However, the singles match turned out to be decisive, in which Duszan Lajović succumbed to the sensational Borna Gajo. The leader of the ranking defeated Cilicia, but the great doubles team of Olympic champions Nikola Mektić / Mate Pavić did not give Djoković and Filip Krajinović a chance.

In the finals, in the first match, Rublev in an hour 33 minutes dealt with Gojo, winning 6: 4, 7: 6 (5). In the second game, Medvedev played with Cilic. The first set ended with a tie-break, in which the Russian turned out to be better (he won 7: 6). In the second set, the runner-up in the ranking broke the Croatian service in the fourth game and that was enough to finish the winning set, match and for the first time in his career, reach for this team trophy.

– Some people refused to play in the Davis Cup and I understand them. The season was long, soon the Australian Open. But I like to play for my country. It is very important to me, otherwise I would not be here – said Medvedev.

So far, Russia has won the Davis Cup twice – in 2002 and 2006. The stars of these teams were: Marat Safin, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Mikhail Yuzhny (2002) and Safin, Nikolai Dawidienko, Dmitry Tursunov (2006). The last time the Russians played in the finals was in 2007. Croatia has played in the finals three times and won twice – in 2005 and 2018.

Next year’s competition of the Davis Cup will take place in a similar format. First, the group will be played in four cities, and the knockout stage will probably be played in Abu Dhabi.

Davis Cup Finals 2021

Russia – Croatia 2-0

Andrey Rublev (Russia) bt Borna Gojo (Croatia) 6-4 7-6 (5)

Daniil Medvedev (Russia) – Marin Cilić (Croatia) 7: 6 (7), 6: 2.

Olgierd Kwiatkowski

About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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