ATP Cup: Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev sink Italy for winning start

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ATP Cup: Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev sink Italy for winning start

One of the favorites for the title at the inaugural ATP Cup, Russia defeated Italy in Group D in Perth following singles triumphs for Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev. Matteo Berrettini was unable to play for Italy and it was Stefano Travaglia who faced Khachanov in the first rubber, giving his best in the opening set before the Russian delivered a 7-5, 6-3 victory for the winning start of the season.

Karen struggled to find the first serve and to provide better percentages after missing it, getting broken twice in the opening set to find himself 5-2 down. Controlling the pace, Stefano had a set point in the eighth game, wasting it on his serve and fading from the court in the rest of the set, allowing Khachanov to claim five straight games and steal the set 7-5.

The second set was more fluid and it saw eight powerful holds on both sides, five for Khachanov who waited for a chance on the return patiently, delivering a break in game six and sealing the deal with a hold at love at 5-3 to bring the first point for Russia.

In the clash of the top-ranked players, Daniil Medvedev defeated Fabio Fognini 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 for the third straight triumph over the Italian and the overall victory for Russia. The two-time Masters 1000 champion made the worst possible start before raising his level to dominate in sets two and three, controlling the pace to leave Fabio behind and open the season in style.

Medvedev did lose serve twice in the opener but that was all we saw from Fognini on the return, failing to do the damage in the rest of the clash and struggling to match Daniil's numbers, facing no less than 18 break points (12 in the decider) and allowing Medvedev to convert four of those and march towards the finish line.

Fabio saved break chances in the first game of the match and became the only player on the court after that, earning breaks in games two and four and securing the set with a hold in game seven for a 6-1. With no room for errors, Medvedev found his initial shot in set number two, mounting the pressure on the other side of the net and clinching breaks in games four and six to set a decider where he was the favorite now.

With nothing left in the tank, Fabio barely won a point on the return in the final set, struggling a lot behind the initial shot and having to face break chances in every game. Daniil broke him in games three and nine to move over the top and earn the first points for Russia at the inaugural ATP Cup.