Medvedev returns Russia to Davis Cup semi-finals


Elias Ymer of Sweden serves against Andrey Rublev of the Russian Tennis Federation in a Davis Cup quarter-final match between the Russian Tennis Federation and Sweden at Madrid Arena stadium in Madrid, Spain on Thursday, December 2 2021. (AP Photo / Bernat Armangue)

Elias Ymer of Sweden serves against Andrey Rublev of the Russian Tennis Federation in a Davis Cup quarter-final match between the Russian Tennis Federation and Sweden at Madrid Arena stadium in Madrid, Spain on Thursday, December 2 2021. (AP Photo / Bernat Armangue)

PA

Daniil Medvedev maintained his perfect record in the Davis Cup final to place Russia in the bottom four.

Medvedev beat Mikael Ymer 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday to give Russia an insurmountable 2-0 lead over Sweden in the quarter-finals of the revamped team event.

Andrey Rublev outlived Mikael’s older brother Elias Ymer earlier in a 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (3) win at the Madrid Arena.

Russia will face Germany in the semi-finals on Saturday. Serbia and leader Novak Djokovic face Croatia in the other semi-final on Friday.

It was Medvedev’s third straight straight set victory, second after group stage wins over Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta and Emilio Gomez of Ecuador.

Medvedev broke serve twice in the first set and three times in the second against 94th-ranked Mikael Ymer, Sweden’s highest-ranked player.

“Today I should have served better, but I’m really happy to bring the point to the team,” said Medvedev. “The most important thing is that we win a lot of matches. We haven’t lost a tie in the squad and are really looking forward to Saturday. ”

Russia beat Serbia in the quarter-finals of the first edition of the event in 2019 before losing to Canada in the last four. Russia are aiming for their third Davis Cup title after triumphs in 2002 and 2006.

The Russian team is officially called RTF (Russian Tennis Federation) in the competition amid its ongoing doping suspension in international sport.

Rublev, fifth, struggled much more than Medvedev in his singles match against Elias Ymer, 171st.

After breaking serve twice to win the first set, he served for the game at 5-4 in the second, but couldn’t close it as Ymer won three straight games.

“Serving for the game gives me a bit of a relaxed feeling when I shouldn’t be doing this,” Rublev said. “I missed some easy forehands which normally if you are focused and do everything right you won’t miss them. I bring him back to the game. Then he starts to believe in himself, he starts to play much, much better.

The Swede saved a total of seven break points in the deciding set to stay tight, but Rublev ultimately won the tiebreaker for his second straight win after opening with a loss to Spaniard Feliciano López. Elias Ymer had won his two group stage matches.

Sweden last qualified in the last four in 2007, when they lost to the United States. It was his first quarterfinal appearance since 2011. He is looking to win his eighth Davis Cup title, and the first since 1998.

Russia won a squad that included Spain and Ecuador, while Sweden was the top second-place team after playing in a squad won by Kazakhstan that included Canada, a finalist in 2019.

Shamil Tarpischev, the longest-serving captain in Davis Cup history, is in his 100th draw with Russia.

Madrid were the only host of the team event in 2019, but this time Innsbruck in Austria and Turin in Italy also hosted matches. The competition did not take place last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Naomi C. Amerson