Andrey Rublev held out Elias Ymer in three sets to give Russia a 1-0 lead over Sweden in the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup final on Thursday, leaving number 2 Daniil Medvedev the chance to send his country to the last four.
The fifth ranked Rublev turned his first match point in the decisive tiebreak into a win with 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (3) over the 171st ranked Ymer.
Medvedev will face his other Ymer brother, Mikael, in the second singles match later on Thursday at Madrid Arena.
The winner will face Germany on Saturday. Serbia and top-ranked Novak Djokovic face Croatia in the second semi-final on Friday.
Rublev had control early and broke the serve twice to win the first set. He served the match at 5-4 in the second but could not close it 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 eventually won the tiebreak 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 time in a row. It beat Serbia in the quarterfinals of the renewed 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 called RTF (Ryssian Tennis Federation) in the competition in the middle of its ongoing doping ban in international sports.
Sweden last reached the last four in 2007, when they lost to the United States.
This is its first quarter-final appearance since 2011. It is trying to win its eighth Davis Cup title, and the first since 1998.
Russia won a group that included Spain and Ecuador, while Sweden was the best second team after playing in a group that won Kazakhstan and that included Canada, second in 2019.
Shamil Tarpischev, the longest-serving captain in Davis Cup history, is taking part in his 100th match 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 was not held last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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