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Rublev, Medvedev Lead Russia past Sweden, join Germany, Croatia and Russia in Davis Cup Tennis Semis

Daniil Medvedev defeated Mikael Ymer of Sweden to clinch Russia’s berth in the Davis Cup semifinals at the Madrid Arena. EPA-EFE/JUANJO MARTIN

By Ricky Dimon

Russia rounded out the 2021 Davis Cup semifinal lineup by sweeping Sweden 2-0 on Friday afternoon in Madrid.

Despite being massive favorites with Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev in the lineup, it wasn’t a cakewalk for the reigning ATP Cup champions. Elias Ymer gave Rublev a huge scare in the opening match, as the world No. 5 needed a final-set tiebreaker to survive 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(3). Rublev served for the match in the second set only to endure a roller-coaster ride the rest of the way.

“Today was a super tough match,” said the Cincinnati runner-up. “I didn’t manage to finish the match when I had a really great chance. I missed some easy balls and that [brought] him back to the game and since that moment he raised his level. He started to feel confident and he started to play much better, and then it was 7-6 in the third.”

Andrey Rublev of Russia in action against Elias Ymer of Sweden during the Davis Cup quarterfnals. EPA-EFE/JUANJO MARTIN

Whereas Rublev has been struggling all week long, Medvedev–as usual–is in cruise control. The world No. 2 continued his impressive form and followed his teammate’s hard-fought success with a clinching 6-4, 6-4 victory over Mikael Ymer.

“Madrid feels like home,” Medvedev noted. “We’re winning a lot of. It was a great boost of confidence to beat the home team (in the group stage). We are winning a lot of matches; we didn’t lose a tie in the group. Saturday’s going to be my first (Davis Cup) semifinal, so I’m really looking forward to it.

“In general, I feel like I’m doing what I have to–playing quite well. The further you are in the tournament, the better you have to play, the better players you will face. That’s what I need to do next time; just be even more confident and play even better.”

Next up for Medvedev and company is Germany on Saturday. The Germans are without Alexander Zverev, but Jan-Lennard Struff led them past Great Britain in the quarterfinals.

On the other side of the Davis Cup Finals draw, Serbia and Croatia battled into the semis. Novak Djokovic vs. Marin Cilic is the only confirmed rubber in that tie, which will be played on Friday in Madrid.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.