Spain claimed the inaugural Davis Cup Finals title in 2019. After failing to pass the group stage, the red squad could not repeat that in front of the home fans in Madrid 2021. Without Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz, Spain faced Russia and Ecuador in Group A and beat the lower-ranked country.
The Spanish team lost to Russia in the deciding doubles match to leave the competition. Serbia also earned one victory in their group, beating Austria and losing to Germany. However, they did enough to secure one of two second-placed positions to advance into the quarter-final.
The Serbs were cheering for Russia against Spain, and things did not look good when the veteran Feliciano Lopez ousted Andrey Rublev. World no. 2 Daniil Medvedev faced Pablo Carreno Busta in the second rubber and toppled the Spaniard 6-2, 7-6 in an hour and 28 minutes.
The US Open champion grabbed an early break and opened a 3-0 lead in under ten minutes. With nothing working his way, Carreno Busta sprayed a volley mistake at the net to find himself 5-0 down. He pulled one break back in game six and fended off three set points in the next one to reduce the deficit to 5-2.
Daniil blasted an ace to claim the eighth game at love and win the opener in style. The Russian rattled off four straight games from 3-1 down in the second set to open a 5-3 gap and move closer to the finish line.
Russia beat Spain and pushed Serbia into the 2021 Davis Cup Finals quarter-final.
Pablo saved a match point in game nine and another on the return a few minutes later before breaking back for 5-5 and more drama.
Medvedev stayed calm and sealed the deal with an ace a 6-3 in the tie break to deliver the first point for Russia and introduce the doubles rubber. Aslan Karatsev and Andrey Rublev first secured the quarter-final berth for their country.
They beat Feliciano Lopez and Marcel Granollers 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 to wrap up the tie and help Serbia join them in the second phase of the event instead of Spain. Daniil Medvedev joked about the situation and said Novak Djokovic should invite him to dinner.
"Someday, Novak will have to invite me to dinner for our today's victory. It was funny because during the doubles match, some Serbian people, I'm not going to say who, were sending us messages on their mobile phones, encouraging us to win.
This format favors those situations, and we only thought about winning the game, regardless of who we could leave out or not," Daniil Medvedev said.