The match with Ecuador turned out to be a passing match. Our guys, led by the leaders – the second and fifth rackets of the world Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev – predictably took two singles matches and a pair (Rublev and Aslan Karatsev played. – “RG”) and won with a score of 3:0. But the game with the current champions of the Davis Cup Spaniards was not so unambiguous. Even though there was neither Rafael Nadal nor the rising star Carlos Alcaraz, who passed a positive test for COVID, both teams claimed the first place in the group.
At first, Rublev unexpectedly lost to 40-year-old Feliciano Lopez with a score 6:3, 3:6, 4:6. The veteran of Spanish tennis managed to defeat an opponent from the top 10 of the ranking for the first time since 2018 and put his national team ahead – 1:0. But Medvedev again equalized the odds by beating Pablo Carreno-Busta, and, importantly, did it in two sets – 6:2, 7:6 (7:3). The winner was determined in doubles, where Karatsev and Rublev were stronger than Lopez and Marcel Granollers – 4:6, 6:2, 6:4.
Recall that 18 teams divided into six groups compete in the final part of the Davis Cup, but only 8 teams enter the playoffs. So participation in the quarterfinals guarantees only the first place in the group, and the best ones are chosen from the second numbers according to additional indicators – the percentage of matches won, sets and even games. It was enough for the Russian tennis players to win one game in the doubles match with Spain to ensure their entry into the playoffs from at least second place in the group. But Shamil Tarpishchev’s team coped with the task-the maximum.
But the Spaniards were eliminated from the tournament. Their captain Sergi Brugera lamented about this: “We won 3-0 against Ecuador, and then lost 1-2 to Russia, and the third set in pairs was 4:6. Because of this, we flew out. And we don’t understand this,” the tournament’s press service quotes Bruguera as saying. – But my team fought incredibly. 10 points for dedication and for the level of the game.”
As a result, the situation developed in such a way that Russia knocked out Spain and opened the way to Serbia’s playoffs. At a press conference, journalists even suggested that Novak Djokovic should invite the Russians to dinner.
– I think it’s not worth doing this during the tournament, but after that we’ll see, – said Medvedev, who is doing well with a sense of humor. – It was funny during the match to receive messages with words of support from the Serbs. Although it is clear that we did not choose who to knock out of the tournament: Spain or Serbia. We just wanted to win and are happy that we succeeded.
So, what do the Davis Cup quarterfinal pairs look like? These are Italy – Croatia (match on November 29), Great Britain – Germany (November 30), Serbia – Kazakhstan (December 1) and Russia – Sweden (December 2).