2021 in Review: Daniil Medvedev tops Alexander Zverev to send Russia through



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2021 in Review: Daniil Medvedev tops Alexander Zverev to send Russia through

Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev propelled Russia into the ATP Cup final in February following a 2-1 victory over Germany. Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev delivered singles victory for their country to seal the deal and the set title clash against Italy.

In the first encounter, Andrey Rublev toppled Jan-Lennard Struff 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in an hour and 34 minutes. The German played well and hit 23 winners and 16 unforced errors, although it was not enough to challenge Rublev's 37 winners and 18 unforced mistakes, with the Russian taking charge from set number two to bring the victory home.

Jan-Lennard produced four fine holds in the opening set and grabbed a break at 3-3 when Andrey hit a double fault. Struff confirmed the lead with a hold at 15 and earned another break in game nine with a forehand winner for 6-3 in under 30 minutes.

Rublev raised his game in set number two and barely lost a point on serve, keeping the pressure on the German and delivering three breaks for 6-1. The organizers closed the roof due to rain in the seventh game, and Andrey clinched the set soon after that to force a decider.

The better-ranked opponent lost four points in the final set's four service games and moved in front following Struff's massive forehand error in game two. Returning at 5-2, Andrey landed a forehand down the line winner to seal the deal and earn Russia's first point.

Facing each other for the ninth time, Daniil Medvedev scored the fourth victory over Alexander Zverev, overpowering the German 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in two hours and 37 minutes to propel Russia into the final.

Russia defeated Germany 2-0 to book the ATP Cup final place.

Zverev had 35 winners and 40 unforced errors, beating the Russian's 31-46 ratio but failing to bring the victory home in the decisive moments like against Novak Djokovic in the previous match.

Both players won 106 points and faced 11 break chances, with Medvedev fending off nine of those and earning three breaks to cross the finish line first. Alexander grabbed a break at 15 in the opener's second game and wasted more chances on the return in games four and six.

The German served for the set in game nine and held after deuce for 6-3 after 39 minutes. They traded breaks in games five and six of set number two, and Medvedev scored another at 4-3 to forge the advantage and close the set with a hold at 15 soon after that.

After ten comfortable holds in the final set, Alexander hit a double fault to get broken and push the rival 6-5 ahead. The last game proved to be a roller coaster, with five break chances for the German, who could not convert any and prolong the clash. Daniil forced Alexander's error on his fourth match point to move over the top and send his country into the final.