Led by Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov, Russia joined the circle of favorites for the ATP Cup trophy before the event started, securing wins over Italy, the USA and Norway to top Group D standings. Thus, Russia joins Australia and Serbia in the quarter-final in Perth, awaiting the winner of Group E in their next clash where they should be the team to beat as well.
In the first match against Norway, Karen Khachanov sprints past Viktor Durasovic 6-2, 6-1 in 61 minutes for the third victory of the season from as many encounters. World no. 329 couldn't do much against the opponent from the top-20, landing only 48% of the first serve in and giving away more than half of the points behind the initial shot to suffer four breaks from eight chances offered to Karen.
On the other hand, the Russian lost 14 points in eight service games, never facing a break point and controlling the course of the match to put Russia in front at RAC Arena in Perth. Karen held with an ace in the first game and broke Durasovic at 15 in game two to move in front.
Viktor fended off break chances in the sixth game before wasting three game points at 2-5, allowing Khachanov to take five straight points and close the set with another break after 34 minutes. The second set was even more one-sided, with four powerful holds for Karen and a break in game two that pushed him closer to the finish line.
Returning at 4-1, Khachanov clinched another break at love when Viktor netted a forehand, taking 12 of the final 13 points and sealing the deal with three winners in game seven. In the second match, world no. 5 Daniil Medvedev ousted Casper Ruud 6-3, 7-6 in an hour and 33 minutes.
The Norwegian defeated John Isner and Fabio Fognini in the previous encounters but Daniil proved to be too strong, firing 13 aces and fending off two out of three break chances. Casper didn't play bad either, offering Medvedev only four break chances and suffering two breaks, enough to finish on the losing side after another solid performance that should keep him happy ahead of the Australian Open.
The encounter kicked off with five dominant holds on both sides and it was Daniil who had the upper hand all the time, serving well throughout the set and converting the third break chance in the sixth game with a forehand crosscourt winner that propelled him in front.
Hold at love sent Medvedev 5-2 up and closed the set with another one in the ninth game following a beautiful volley for a 6-3 after 36 minutes. Casper delivered two great holds at the beginning of the second set and broke Daniil with a forehand winner in game four to move 3-1 in front.
The Russian broke back in the very next game thanks to a poor drop shot from the Norwegian, with seven comfortable holds in the rest of the set that led them towards the tie break. There, a return winner pushed Ruud 4-2 ahead before he played a loose forehand to lose the advantage, staying there with the better-ranked opponent until the 13th point when Karen grabbed a crucial mini-break, sealing the deal with an ace in the next point to punch Sydney ticket for Russia.