The Russian national tennis team reached the semifinals of the Davis Cup in its new format, which, according to experts, is higher than the original expectations. Our team was not embarrassed by the absence of its main star – the fifth racket of the world and the finalist of the US Open, Daniel Medvedev. Due to the high loads in the second half of the season, the athlete refused to go to Madrid, where the tournament was held.
In such a situation, the role of the leader was tried on by Andrei Rublev, who did not lose any of the five single matches. He also gave a phenomenal performance paired with Karen Khachanov in the quarterfinals against Serbia.
“Andrei had a great tournament, acting like a real leader,” the 1995 Davis Cup finalist Andrei Chesnokov shared his opinion with Izvestia. – He performed well in single games, and also organically acted in tandem with Khachanov. It’s great that both Karen and Andrey showed the presence of character, especially in the quarterfinals with the Serbs, when they recouped from three matchballs and squeezed them in a tie-break. I think we can be proud of the result of the Russian team.
In its group, Russia played with Spain and last year’s Davis Cup winner Croatia. Our team defeated our Balkan with a score 3: 0. Rublev defeated Born Goyo, and Khachanov – one of the best young tennis players Born Chorich. Then Andrey and Karen succeeded in pair, defeating Ivan Dodig and Nicola Mektich. In the game with Spain, Rublev gained an important victory over Roberto Bautista Agut. But Khachanov could not cope with the first racket of the world by Rafael Nadal. In a pair, our tennis players lost to Marcel Granollers and Feliciano Lopez.
As a result, this defeat did not prevent the Russians from reaching the quarter finals, but made them think about the lack of reserve that other teams had. Due to the fact that Medvedev could not come to Madrid, Khachanov and Rublev played all the games of the Russian team. Matches went every day. At the same time, they had to go to court twice a day – alone and in pairs. As a result, the same Spaniards defeated them due to greater freshness. In reserve, Russia had Evgeni Donskoy outside the top hundred of the world ranking, but the team’s mentor Shamil Tarpishchev did not dare to put him against such strong opponents.
“With all due respect to Donskoy, he is now not at the level to painlessly replace Rublev and Khachanov,” the honored trainer of Russia and Ukraine Vladimir Kamelson noted in a conversation with Izvestia. – Therefore, I had to play with their forces, and somewhere the guys did not have enough “physics”. If Medvedev were on the team, everything would be different. Could compete for the Davis Cup itself. But it so happened that Dana had to refuse to go to Spain, and Andrei and Karen did everything they could.
Battle with serbia
In the quarterfinals, Russia met with the strong national team of Serbia. Rublev confidently defeated Philip Krainovich. And Khachanov lost the second racket of the world to Novak Djokovic, who, on Friday night, together with Viktor Troitsky went in a doubles match against our tennis players. This game was one of the best in the tournament for intrigue and tension. The Russians and the Serbs won one set, and in the decisive third, it came to a tie-break, which remained for Rublev and Khachanov (10: 8), although the opponent had three match balls.
“Matchballs in the semi-final doubles match can be attributed to the tennis gold fund,” Andrei Olkhovsky, two-time Davis Cup finalist, emphasized to Izvestia. – The way we played them, you can show young. What Rublev did with a score of 7: 8 in a tie-break, when he ran over and played a rally, this is fantastic. Simply phenomenal – no one expected this. On the match itself there were questions at some points, but the level of the game as a whole and the speeds that the players showed were very high.
On Saturday, Rublev continued his winning streak in singles in the semifinals against Canada, defeating Vaseka Pospishil. Then Khachanov won the first set against Denis Shapovalov, but lost the next two. In a pair, I wrote and Shapovalov won in three sets, winning the decisive of them in a tie-break.
“Rublev showed very good tennis, hardly anyone expected him to perform so much,” summed up Olkhovsky. – But Khachanov also demonstrated a high-quality game. Maybe in one or two games he played uncertainly. But overall, Karen had a great tournament. He beat Choric, gaining an important point, and then together with Rublev won the pair against the Croats and in the quarterfinals against the Serbs. And in the semifinals with the Canadians everything was decided by just one ball. Khachanov could well have won a single meeting against Shapovalov, when with a score of 4: 5 in the third set he missed a decisive break, leading in a game on someone else’s serve. Moreover, with a score of 40: 0, everything would have ended in Karen’s favor, had he been left on the left line, and had not missed two centimeters. Then the score in the set would be equal, and Khachanov could win the match. And already in the final it is not known how the meeting with Spain would go.
The next Davis Cup will also be held in Madrid. It will be held in November 2020.