Rublev puts Russia ahead in Davis Cup quarterfinal
MADRID (AP) — Andrey Rublev outlasted Elias Ymer in three sets to give Russia a 1-0 lead over Sweden in the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup Finals on Thursday, leaving No. 2 Daniil Medvedev with the chance to send his country to the last four.
The fifth-ranked Rublev converted his first match point in the decisive tiebreaker for a 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (3) win over the 171st-ranked Ymer.
Medvedev will face the other Ymer brother, Mikael, in the second singles match later Thursday at the Madrid Arena.
The winner will face Germany on Saturday. Serbia and top-ranked Novak Djokovic will face Croatia in the other semifinal on Friday.
Rublev was in control early and broke serve twice to win the first set. He served for the match at 5-4 in the second but couldn't close it out as Ymer won three straight games.
The Swede saved saved seven break points in total in the decisive set to keep it tight, but Rublev ultimately prevailed in the tiebreaker for his second straight victory after opening with a loss against Spain's Feliciano López.
Russia is trying to reach the semifinals for the second straight time. It beat Serbia in the quarterfinals of the revamped event's first edition in 2019 before losing to Canada in the last four. Russia won the Davis Cup twice, in 2002 and 2006.
Russia is officially being called RTF (Russian Tennis Federation) in the competition amid its ongoing doping suspension in international sport.
Sweden last made it to the last four in 2007, when it lost to the United States.
This is its first quarterfinal appearance since 2011. It is trying to win its eighth Davis Cup title, and first since 1998.
Russia won a group that included Spain and Ecuador, while Sweden was the best second-place team after playing in a group won by Kazakhstan and that included Canada, the runner-up in 2019.
Shamil Tarpischev, the longest-serving captain in Davis Cup history, is participating in his 100th tie with Russia.
Madrid was the sole host of the team event in 2019, but this time Innsbruck in Austria and Turin in Italy also held matches. The competition did not take place last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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