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The RFT sweep past Germany

The Davis Cup favourites, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, representing the Russian Tennis Federation rather than their country as it is banned from international competition for state doping violations, cruised into the final at the Caja Magica in Madrid, after trouncing both their singles players in straight sets.

Russia is without doubt the strongest team in this Davis Cup,. It will be a very tough mission for us facing them. But we have our own strengths Marin Cilic

Daniil Medvedev sealed the team’s place in the title tie by beating the solid and powerful Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4 6-4 as he backed up Rublev’s 6-4 6-0, trouncing of Dominik Koepfer, to establish a 2-0 unassailable lead in the second semi-final, after the Croatian team had booked their place 24-hours earlier.

Both finalists will be chasing their third Davis Cup titles and Marin Cilic, the Croat No.1, is expecting a tough battle if his team is to succeed.

“Russia is without doubt the strongest team in this Davis Cup,” the 33-year-old 2014 US Open champions pointed out.

“It will be a very tough mission for us facing them. But we have our own strengths.

“It is our third final in five years, which is something exceptional, and does not happen very often.”

With all four of the RFT’s players ranked in the top 30, it is hard not to see them lifting the trophy on Sunday evening for the first time since 2006, but they will have to claim both singles points and prevent the Croat’s unbeaten world No.1 doubles pairing of Mate Pavic & Nikola Mektic taking to the court in a deciding doubles rubber.

So far in this year’s reformatted competition, the RFT have only dropped one singles rubber which was Rublev’s loss to the Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez in their first group match against Spain.

If anything, Rublev, the world No.5, could be seen as the RFT’s weak link for all his matches apart from his win against Koepfer, have gone to three sets while Medvedev has been solid as a rock throughout.

Marin Cilic celebrates after Croatia had defeated Novak Djokovic's Serbia in their semi-final 24-hours earlier,

Sanjin Strukic/Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images

Consequently, Cilic’s hopes that his team can snatch one singles point and then tip the deciding doubles in their favour with their biggest weapon, Pavic & Mektic – the Olympic and Wimbledon champions who haven’t had their serve broken so far in the competition– will rest on the success of both the country’s respective No.2 players.

Medvedev certainly believes it should be wrapped up in the singles.

“They have the best doubles pair in the world, thus we will have to try and wrap this up in the singles,” the reigning US Open champion and World No.2, said.

This the RFT did against the Germans who are missing their No.1 player, Alexander Zverev, who has declined to participate in the competition in protest at the changes in the format brought in three years ago, by Kosmos, the sports marketing company run by footballer Gerard Pique.

Andrey Rublev gets the ball rolling for the RFT

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Rublev got the ball rolling when he exposed the ranking gap which exits between himself and 54th ranked Koepfer to defeat him in just 40-minutes by delivering nine aces to win 54 points to his opponent’s 32. He also just lost just five points on his first serve and broke Koepfer four times!

“I was focused from the beginning to the end,” said 24-year-old Rublev.

Then Medvedev applied the coup de grace defeating Struff in just 66-minutes to record his 27th victory indoors in his last 30 matches.

Germany later claimed a consolation point by winning the doubles thanks to Kevin Krawietz & Tim Puetz seeing off Aslan Karatsev & Karen Khachanov 4-6 6-3 6-4.

Speaking after the event, Medvedev taunted the Spanish fans who were inclined to boo him, especially as he had eliminated their team during the group stages.

“The highlight of the week was beating Spain here in Madrid. We were all so happy about that,” he told the crowd. “I’ve been telling you since 2019, if you want me to lose, support me don’t boo me!”



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