Daniil Medvedev enjoyed the perfect preparation for the Australian Open when he led Russia to victory in the $ 7.5 million ATP Cup in Melbourne on Sunday with a dominant 6: 4: 6: 2 win over Italian Matteo Berrettini .
After Andrey Rublev defeated Fabio Fognini 6-1 and 6-2 in the first individual, Medvedev, number four in the world, sealed the tie in the Rod Laver Arena 2-0 when the raging Russians stormed undefeated to the title.
While Medvedev excelled in the first set, he moved to a different level in the second set, showing Berrettini, the world number 10, with a procession of brilliant winners as he took a 5-1 lead. Berrettini saved two match points and held the serve to win back a game. He jumped in the air with an ironic celebration and an ironic grin from his teammates. Medvedev removed a third match point in the following game, but sealed it on the fourth with a huge serve to the ‘T’.
Former US Open finalist Medvedev received the applause of a small but appreciative crowd and congratulated Italy on reaching the final a year after leaving their group. “I think I saw the most spectators of all four games.” The 24-year-old said at the trophy ceremony: “Hopefully it will be the same during the Australian Open.”
The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year, starts on Monday with a reduced attendance of 30,000 fans per day in Melbourne Park, which is about 50% below normal due to the COVID-19 protocols.
Russia were the only team with two players in the top 10, and this was evident when they did brief work against Japan, Argentina and Germany en route to the final. After Medvedev and Rubel had won their singles in the final, player-captain Evgeny Donskoy and Aslan Karatsev were not needed for the doubles.
World number eight Rublev hadn’t beaten Fognini in three previous hard court games but had hammered the Italian on Sunday to send Russia to the cup. He finished the tournament on a 4-0 record, dropping just one set in a stellar support role. Italy captain Vincenzo Santopadre joked that the final was a “disaster” but they were delighted with their week nonetheless. “It was amazing to have these feelings and make me feel these emotions so strongly, thanks guys,” he said.
Berrettini, who was unbeaten in the final, said he was “actually very tired”. We had a lot of fun, great tennis … I hope you enjoyed this week because it was really nice to see you out there. He said to the fans. “It’s been a tough year and it’s something we should really appreciate to see you guys cheer for us there.”