Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev don't shine against Sweden, but they bring Russia in the semifinal of the Davis Cup Finals 2021. However, Russia passes with a very complicated 2-0 and takes a pass for the semifinals of the Davis Cup Finals.
The number two of the big group - obviously late in condition after a grueling season - needs overtime to break down the defense of Elias Ymer, number two of the team led by Robin Soderling. After having canceled a handful of break points in the fourth game, the Russian manages to find a minimum of tranquility, to completely change gear and to close the first set with a very clear 6-2.
Over? Not at all. Rublev hesitates with the available serve and at the same time struggles to find valid alternatives from the baseline. Needless to say, he cancels the first three break points that he makes available to Ymer in the third game and dirties the notebook with two rather gross errors on parity.
The Swede - for better or for worse spectator of the opponent's spectacle - suffers a parizalone of eight points to one and finds himself responding to stay in the match. However, called to serve to close the match, Rublev commits two free mistakes with the forehand and is unable to even reach the jeu decisif.
Which turns out to be decisive in the deciding set. The Russian, who breaks the balance at 4-3, still finds a minimum of continuity in his time of need and avoids further troubles. The 6-2 5-7 7-6 (4) that matures on the threshold of two and a half hours of play is practically a logical consequence.
Medvedev does what he must: Russia in the semifinals with Germany
Nine double fouls and eight aces. Despite a rather fluctuating performance with the available joke, to put it mildly, the lot number one seals the success with Mikael Ymer at 6-4 6-4 and gives Russia the point of qualification.
Obviously valid for the semifinal against Germany. The Russian - who stutters near the finish line both in the first and in the second fraction - after having squandered a two-break advantage in the heart of the match concentrates the vast majority of attention in the final and avoids further trouble in the final.
Rusedski: "Roger Federer thinks he still has a chance at Wimbledon"
In an interview granted to the Express Sport portal, former ATP number 4 Greg Rusedski analyzed the prospects of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
He said: "Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are two absolute tennis legends, but now it is no longer solely up to them. Novak Djokovic is now out of reach for both of them on hard courts, as shown by his results in 2021. Then there are the Next Gen, who have made a further leap in quality.
I am referring above all to Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, who will all be protagonists in 2022. Roger will try to give himself one last chance at Wimbledon, where he came close to winning in 2019.
This year he didn't play particularly well in London, but he still made it to the quarterfinals. With better condition, he could still have a say about him on the grass. Rafa, for his part, will focus on Roland Garros. Paris is the tournament in which he has the most chance of winning his 21st Slam."
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both played very little in 2021. The Swiss star played 13 official matches this year, with a subdued tally of nine wins and four losses. At Wimbledon he reached the quarter-finals, also benefiting from a not impossible draw.
When he looked like he could go through with it, he was literally annihilated by Hubert Hurkacz on Center Court. The Pole, author of a splendid 2021, even took away the satisfaction of giving the King a bagel in his favorite tournament.
A few weeks later, the former world number 1 announced that he had to have knee surgery for the third time in the past 18 months. Recently, the 20-time Grand Slam champion announced that his return to the tour should take place in the summer of 2022.
It didn't go much better for Rafa, limited to just seven tournaments this season. The Spaniard posted two titles on his beloved clay court, but failed the assault on his 14th Roland Garros. The 35-year-old from Manacor appears to have recovered from his foot injury and will be back in action at the prestigious Abu Dhabi exhibition.