Tennis: Russia to Face Italy in ATP Cup Final
Daniil Medvedev fired Russia into the final of the ATP Cup on Saturday (Feb 6) with a tense 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over an injury-hampered Alexander Zverev after the German destroyed a racket in frustration over a lost service break.
Russia will meet surprise package Italy in Sunday’s final after Matteo Berrettini sealed a 2-0 win against Spain by beating Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 7-5.
Zverev had treatment on a lower back injury in the second set against Medvedev and slammed his racket into the court after slapping a wild second serve into the tramlines to be broken at 5-5 in the deciding set.
Medvedev had his own wobbles serving for the match but eventually closed it out for a timely confidence boost before the Australian Open, which starts on Monday.
“We’re really happy to get the win,” Medvedev told reporters after sealing a 2-0 win for Russia.
“I started to make some big serves in big moments. That was a big key against Sascha (Zverev).”
In a madcap finish, Medvedev double-faulted twice on match point and saved five break points before finally wrapping up proceedings with a fierce forehand down the line that Zverev could only push long.
“Crazy match, happy to win, even if many things I didn’t like,” said Medvedev, whose team mate Andrey Rublev enjoyed a 3-6 6-1 6-2 win over Jan-Lennard Struff.
Nursing a sore back, world No. 2 Rafael Nadal sat out of another match for Spain, who reached the final in the inaugural ATP Cup last year.
His team mate Pablo Carreno Busta lost 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 to Fabio Fognini in the earlier match before Berrettini continued his fine early season form against Bautista Agut.
Italy failed to reach last year’s knockout rounds without Berrettini but are a different beast with the world number 10, who upset Austria’s Dominic Thiem in his unbeaten run in singles.
“Obviously now the confidence is better, it’s higher,” said Berrettini.
“But, yeah, I felt we could do a great, great week.
“We’re feeling good. We’re feeling good energy.”