The Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) team has won the Davis Cup title for the first time since 2006 after defeating Croatia in Sunday’s final in Madrid.
The heavy Russian team took an impregnable 2-0 lead after Danill Medvedev defeated former US Open champion Marin Cilic in straight sets, 7-6 (9-7) 6-2, in the second singles match of the match.
Andrey Rublev had put Russia on the road earlier in the day with a hard-fought victory in his singles match against the brave 23-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 6-4 7-6 (7-5).
The results meant that the double match was made irrelevant as Russia took home the title for the first time since they defeated Argentina at home in Moscow 15 years ago.
Sunday’s final in Spain was the first time a Russian team reached this stage of the tournament – which is the most prestigious in international men’s team tennis – since they met against the USA in 2007 in Portland.
Russia has now won the Davis Cup three times in the tournament’s brilliant history, with its second titles in 2002 against France in Paris and their Moscow triumph in 2006.
RUSSIAN MEN’S TENNIS ON UP
With Medvedev and Rublev in their ranks – who are ranked second and fifth in the world, respectively – the Russian team was among the strong favorites heading into this year’s 18-nation Davis Cup finals, where they formally competed under the national tennis court. federation due to ongoing WADA sanctions.
Alongside Medvedev and Rublev were Karen Khachanov and Aslan Karatsev, both top-30 players who played their part in the doubles matches on the way to the title.
On the way to the tournament’s decisive draw, the RTF quartet had defeated Ecuador and then the hosts and title defenders Spain during the round-robin stage, as well as Sweden in the quarterfinals before defeating Germany in the semifinals on Saturday.
Croatia, the 2018 champions, had beaten Novak Djokovic’s Serbia in their semi-final but could not match the impressive Medvedev and Rublev in the Spanish capital.
The result ended a strong year for Russian men’s tennis when Medvedev, 25, won the US Open in September and became the first male star from his country to win a 16-year-old Grand Slam title.
Countryman Rublev, 24, ends the year in a career-high ranking of the world five and also won Olympic gold in Tokyo in mixed doubles together with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, where they beat compatriots Karatsev and Elena Vesnina in the final.
The Russian men’s team with Medvedev, Rublev, Karatsev and Evgeny Donskoy also won the 2021 ATP Cup held in February in Melbourne.
RUSSIAN KINGS AND QUEENS HAVE A COURT
Russia now holds the most prestigious international team titles in both men’s and women’s tennis, following Sunday’s success in Spain following the triumph of the Billie Jean King Cup (formerly known as the Fed Cup) by female Russian stars in November.
READ MORE: Russian female tennis stars celebrate the “incredible” cup win (VIDEO)
Russia was crowned female world champion after defeating Switzerland in November. Reuters
Women’s star Pavlyuchenkova, 30, went all the way to the women’s singles final of the French Open earlier this year and became the first Russian female player to reach that stage of a Grand Slam since Maria Sharapova against Serena Williams in the 2015 Australian Open final.