Defending champion Russia takes group lead at ATP Cup

January 4, 2022 GMT
Daniil Medvedev of Russia reacts to winning his match against Australia's Alex de Minaur during their match at the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Sydney, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Steve Christo)
Daniil Medvedev of Russia reacts to winning his match against Australia's Alex de Minaur during their match at the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Sydney, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Steve Christo)
Daniil Medvedev of Russia reacts to winning his match against Australia's Alex de Minaur during their match at the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Sydney, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Steve Christo)
1 of 7
Daniil Medvedev of Russia reacts to winning his match against Australia's Alex de Minaur during their match at the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Sydney, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Steve Christo)
1 of 7
Daniil Medvedev of Russia reacts to winning his match against Australia's Alex de Minaur during their match at the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Sydney, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Steve Christo)

SYDNEY (AP) — Daniil Medvedev and Roman Safiullin won their singles matches before combining to win the doubles Tuesday to give defending champion Russia a sweep of Australia and first place in Group B at the ATP Cup.

Russia is 2-0 in the tournament but still has to beat Italy on Thursday in a rematch between last year’s finalists to ensure it advances to the semifinals.

Safiullin opened the night session with a 7-6 (6), 6-4 win over James Duckworth. Medvedev beat Alex De Minaur 6-4, 6-2 to secure Russia’s victory before the doubles.

“We fight when we play for our country, to the last point,” Medvedev said.

Italy rebounded from its upset loss to Australia last Sunday to sweep France, with Jannik Sinner beating Arthur Rinderknech 6-3, 7-6 (3) and Matteo Berrettini defeating Ugo Humbert 6-4, 7-6 (6) in the singles matches.

ADVERTISEMENT

For Berrettini, it was a confidence-boosting win following a loss to de Minaur over the weekend. Humbert was coming off an upset win over U.S. Open champion Medvedev.

“I had to play my best tennis in the important moments to win the match and I’m really happy with my performance,” Berrettini said in an on-court TV interview.

All four teams in Group C have 1-1 records after Germany beat the United States and Canada rallied to beat Britain.

Jan-Lennard Struff withstood 34 aces in a 7-6 (7), 4-6, 7-5 win over John Isner to give Germany the lead and Alexander Zverev sealed his team’s victory, on his fifth match point, with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Taylor Fritz.

Isner and Fritz combined for a 6-0, 6-3 win over Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz in the doubles, earning the Americans a point that could prove important in determine the group winners.

Germany lost to Britain 2-1 in its tournament opener, and the Americans swept Canada 3-0.

“Great effort by Jan to beat John in these conditions ... we needed that win, we needed to get on the board,” the third-ranked Zverev said. “It’s the second match of the season. I’m still getting into it. I’m still trying to adjust, but I’m happy with how things are.”

In the night session, Dan Evans gave Britain an early lead over Canada by beating Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 6-4, but Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Cameron Norrie 7-6 (4), 6-3 and then combined with Shapovalov to beat Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury 6-4, 6-1 in the deciding doubles match.

“I am happy to keep the team alive, but the work is not done,” Auger-Aliassime said.

The group winner will be decided Thursday when Germany plays Canada and the United States faces Britain.

The four group winners in the 16-team tournament advance to the semifinals on Friday and Saturday, with the final scheduled for Sunday.

___

More AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports