The Russian Tennis Federation secured its place in the quarter-finals at the Davis Cup Finals Sunday.
The former champion headed into the decisive doubles match level at 1-1 against Spain, knowing one game would be enough to secure its place in the last eight. Andrey Rublev held serve in the opening game to seal qualification from Group A in Madrid. The World No. 5 teamed with Aslan Karatsev, edging Marcel Granollers and Feliciano Lopez 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours.
Earlier, in the first match of the tie, Lopez rolled back the years to upset Rublev 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 47 minutes. The 40-year-old fired 14 aces and won 82 per cent (40/49) of his first-serve points as he rallied to triumph in front of a raucous home crowd at the Madrid Arena.
“This is above any expectations to be honest,” Lopez said. “For me, it is just amazing to be representing my country at 40 years old. I did not expect to play singles, but we had some issues, so I took that role. Today, playing against Andrey, World No. 5, at this stage in my career in my home town, is above my expectations.”
The Russian Tennis federation then levelled the tie when World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev moved past Pablo Carreno Busta 6-2, 7-6(3) in one hour and 30 minutes.
The 25-year-old raced into a 5-0 lead in the first set and then rallied from a break down in the second set to secure his victory. Medvedev hit 14 winners and broke five times. The Russian Tennis Federation will face Sweden in the last eight, while Spain is out, with Serbia qualifying as one of the best second-placed nations.
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In the first tie of the day in Madrid, Alexander Bublik helped guide Kazakhstan into the quarter-finals.
The World No. 36 downed Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 7-6(6) in 83 minutes to clinch a 2-0 victory for Kazakhstan against Canada. Bublik won 84 per cent (42/50) of his first-serve points and hit five aces in a dominant display.
Earlier, Mikhail Kukushkin laid the foundations for Kazakhstan’s victory, edging Brayden Schnur 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-5 in the first match of the tie. The World No. 183 recovered from squandering three match points at 6-5 in the second set as he raised his level in the decider to triumph.
In the final match of the tie, Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov sealed Kazakhstan’s win in style, beating Peter Polansky and Schnur 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-1.
Kazakhstan beat Sweden in its opening tie in Group B and has now reached the quarter-finals at the Davis Cup Finals six times. Kazakhstan will play Serbia in the last eight.
See all Davis Cup results