Davis Cup final: Daniil Medvedev leads Russia to end 15-year wait

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The Russian Tennis Federation team celebrate with the trophy after winning the Davis Cup tennis final at the Madrid Arena in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021(AP)

Madrid: Daniil Medvedev defeated Marin Cilic 7-6(7) 6-2 to give Russia an unassailable 2-0 lead against Croatia in the Davis Cup final in Madrid on Sunday, securing their third title and first in 15 years.

To survive a difficult first set, reigning US Open champion Medvedev had to play his best tennis, as Cilic hit nine forehand winners and won nearly three-quarters of his service games.

As the 1.98-meter giants went into a tiebreak, the stunned throng inside Madrid Arena was reduced to pin-drop stillness, with Medvedev relying on his backhand to triumph despite an ill-timed double fault.

Cilic showed symptoms of exhaustion in the second set, breaking his service in the fourth game before gaining control of the match and losing only one of his first-serve games.

“I’m more happy for the team than for myself,” Medvedev said. “I’m just happy to be part of this team and be able to bring the points.”

Following a week of enmity when Russia eliminated Spain in the Davis Finals group stage, Medvedev received a standing ovation from the audience and made up with the Spanish fans.

“I loved the atmosphere. It was a really amazing two weeks because it’s never easy to come here in the end of the season and compete. For sure it was the best two weeks of my career,” Medvedev said.

Andrey Rublev, the world number five, defeated Borna Gojo 6-4 7-6(5) earlier in the day to give Russia a 1-0 lead.

Russia’s third Davis Cup title puts it in a tie for the seventh position with the Czech Republic and Germany on the all-time list of Davis Cup winners. After the women’s team won the Billie Jean King Cup in Prague last month with a 2-0 victory over Switzerland in the final, Russia became the fourth country to win both the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup.

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