Feliciano Lopez, 40, admitted beating world No. 5 Andrey Rublev at this stage of his career in his hometown was "over any expectations." Lopez, ranked at No. 106 in the world, stunned Rublev 2-6 6-3 6-4 in the opening rubber of the Spain and Russia tie.
After losing the first set, Lopez broke Rublev once in each of the following two sets and dropped no service games to complete a comeback win. "This is over any expectation to be honest,” said Lopez after the match, per the Davis Cup Finals website.
“For me it was already amazing to be here representing my country at 40 years old. I didn’t expect to be the one playing the singles and I had to take that role. Honestly, today, playing against Andrey, No.5 in the world, at this stage of my career in my hometown, this is over any expectations!”
Lopez steps up for Spain
No one expected Lopez to play singled for Spain but the withdrawals of Rafael Nadal, Roberto Bautista Agut and Carlos Alcaraz left Spain without a choice.
Lopez now has two singles wins at the Davis Cup Finals as he also beat Ecuador's Roberto Quiroz 6-3 6-3 on Friday. "This week was again a challenge for us with the injury of Roberto [Bautista] and with the bad news that Carlos [Alcaraz] got COVID," Lopez said after beating Quiroz.
“We went through a lot of things over the years, and we always had something left, and I think this is going to be again the case. We have to show everyone that we're gonna be able to survive, to go over difficult moments.
Now is time to fight. “I think it was a difficult match for me to face. I didn't expected to be playing this match. I think my role here was to play doubles and then, you know, after everything that happened during the week, I ended up playing the singles. I gave my best”.