MADRID – Russia’s 15-year wait for the Davis Cup championship ended on Sunday after Daniil Medvedev’s second clutch performance.
Medvedev ended his amazing year by winning Marin Cilic in his second doubles 7-6 (7), 6-2, giving Russia an unsurpassed 2-0 lead over Croatia and its first Davis Cup championship since 2006.
It was the fifth consecutive victory in Davis Cup No. 2 for Medvedeville, which three months ago defeated Novak Djokovic and won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open.
“It was quite an amazing two weeks,” Medvedev said. “Because it’s never easy to come here at the end of the season. It feels like it [like] the best weeks of my career. “
Andrei Rublev had previously won the Borna Gojo in straight series to lift the Russians at the Madrid Arena.
Russia’s second Davis Cup championship was in 2002. Croatia also aspired to its third championship after winning in 2005 and 2018.
Russia completed a series of team events after the women’s team won the Billie Jean King Cup final in Prague last month. The last country to double up was the Czech Republic in 2012.
Triumph also ended a special week for Russian captain Shamil Tarpischev, the longest-serving Davis Cup captain. He first served as captain in 1974 and appeared in his 100th match as captain in the semifinals against Germany.
The Russian team is officially in the middle of an ongoing ban on doping in international sports called RTF (Russian Tennis Federation).
After a tight first set of No. 2, Medvedev cut off the serve twice against the second-ranked Cilic in 30th place and comfortably won.
“It was a tough match all day,” Medvedev said. “Tiebreak is a matter of a few points. I made a double mistake on the set point, which was probably a big mistake, but I’m glad it was enough to win today. It was a really tough match.”
Rublev had changed the win in the first match 6-4, 7-6 (5) to Gojo, who reached the Davis Cup final in 279th place but had won three of his matches.
This was his third consecutive win to Rublev after losing to Spanish Feliciano Lopez in the group stage.
Gojo had no chance of a break throughout the match against Rublev, who turned one of his eight to grab the first set and eventually win the second set semi-final.
Croatia overtook Serbia and the best Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, while Russia ousted Germany.
The Russians won the block, which included defending champion Spain and Ecuador, and advanced past Sweden in the quarterfinals. Croatia won the block with Australia and Hungary and then won the Italian semi-finals.
The International Tennis Federation and the Kosmos Tennis team behind the competition said four cities will host the group stages next year, with another place – probably Abu Dhabi – hosting the playoffs.
Madrid was the sole host of the competition for seven days in 2019. This year, host Austria, Innsbruck and Torino, Italy were added for 11 days. The event was not played in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.