RTF shocks Spain in comeback win, Serbia squeezes through
The Russian duo of Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev fought back from one set down to beat Marcel Granollers and Feliciano Lopez 4-6 6-2 6-4 in front of their home crowd at the Madrid Arena securing a spot in the quarter final for the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) in Group A at the Davis Cup.
With this victory, RTF has set up a quarterfinal clash against Sweden and allowed Serbia to squeeze through to the quarterfinals. Serbia lost its doubles match on Saturday and needed RTF to win 2-1 to have a chance to qualify.
Spain has been eliminated and will not defend the title won in 2019. The team narrowly missed out on a place in the last eight after losing a decisive doubles match against Russia. The host nation got off to a strong start with 40-year-old Feliciano Lopez stunning Andrey Rublev.
However, Russia battled back with Daniil Medvedev levelling the tie with a win over Pablo Carreno-Busta. Then in the doubles Rublev and Aslan Karatsev came back from a set down to prevail 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 over Lopez and Granollers.
Despite the defeat, captain Sergi Bruguera has hailed his team after experiencing what he describes as ‘issues.’ Their rising star Carlos Alcaraz was forced to withdraw from the competition after testing positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, Roberto Bautista Agut, who was part of the winning team two years ago, was also forced to pull out after suffering a training accident. Their biggest player, Rafael Nadal has been sidelined with injuries till next year.
“This is over any expectation to be honest. For me, it was already amazing to be here representing my country at 40 years old.”
I did not expect to be playing singles and I had to take the role. Playing against Andrey at this stage of my career in my home town, it’s over any expectations,” said Lopez.
“If I am not mistaken, we needed to win just one game to be through. Yet we won a match, and that’s all you need to know about us. We want to win, no matter it’s an exhibition match, a match that doesn’t count maybe for the tie, or an important match. Our goal is to win. It’s very important for the confidence of the team to win against such team as Spain. Even if they didn’t have their best line-up, they are playing at home, and to beat them meant a lot,” said Medvedev.