doubles to decide Italy-Russia tie in the ATP Cup | ATP circuit

The Russian winner’s Group B clash will be played on the decisive double, with a place in the ATP Cup semi-finals pending the winner after the teams split the two singles on Thursday at the Ken Rosewall Sydney Arena.

Jannik Sinner survived a fiery challenge from Russia’s new ‘secret weapon’ Roman Safiullin in the No.2 single to give Italy an early lead with a 7-6 (6) 6-3 win . But Daniil Medvedev then fended off a fiery Matteo Berrettini comeback 6-2 6-7 (5) 6-4 in the No.1 single to tie the tie at 1-1.

All four singles players returned to the doubles court for the decider.

“I was in control of the first set and it’s tricky because you think things will continue to go the way you want, but that’s not the case when you’re up against a Top 10 player,” Medvedev said. “I made some bad decisions in the second set so I tried to learn from them in the third. I served well throughout the game and it helped me.”

Taking his usual position near the back wall to return the serve, Medvedev nullified Berrettini’s greatest weapon, breaking twice in the first set and limiting the Italian to winning just 59% of first serve points. It was a very different look on serve for Berrettini, who against Alex de Minaur was serving with the Australian standing with his toes on the baseline.

Medvedev, who led the Tour with 63 wins last year, lost just six games when he beat Berrettini in last year’s ATP Cup final in Melbourne. But Berrettini wouldn’t get away easily today, reversing the scenario in the second set when he put in 80% of the first serves (including 13 in a row).

The world number 7 won 27 of 28 first serve points in the second set to deprive Medvedev of a chance to break through in service games. The decisive moment in the tie-break came on Medvedev’s serve at 5/6, when the Russian chose to follow a neutral ball into the net behind a backhand slice. He unleashed a backhand volley, in which Berrettini stepped in to deliver a net winner on the backhand field.

Would Medvedev change his return position in the third set to make Berrettini look different on serve? No sir! The man dubbed ‘Deep Court Daniil’ stuck to his plan on the return trip and went bankrupt in Game 3. He then went into lockdown mode, making few unforced errors as he picked up an entertaining victory to take his ATP Cup singles record to 10-2 in the event’s three years.

Earlier in the No.2 singles, Sinner beat three set points in the first set and five break points against the world No.167 in his first three service matches of the second set before the No.10 advantage. world in the big game experience. – and his ability to save 10 of the 11 break points he faced in the game – led him to victory.

“I love playing for Italy and I’m happy to be down 1-0 very early on and now we’ll see how Matteo can do against the No. 2 player in the world,” said Sinner. “It will be a difficult challenge for him.

“Every game is difficult to win at this level. [Roman] played amazing. I had to play my best tennis in the important moments. I was a bit lucky in the first set, but that’s part of the game.

Safiullin showed remarkable composure as he played the greatest game of his life. He straightened up after being smashed in Game 1 of the game to quickly return to the 2-all level. Pairing up Sinner in the search for a base rally, the 24-year-old had one set point on Sinner’s serve at 6-5 and two more in the tie-break.

But maybe the moment caught up with him when he double-faulted 6/5 in the tie-break, then scored a routine forehand volley on the next point before Sinner closed the set with an ace.

In addition to turning back five break points in his first three service matches of the second set, Sinner again turned down a break chance in the last game of the match.

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