Russia moved into the quarter-finals in the debut edition of the ATP Cup on Tuesday, with Daniil Medvedev wrapping up the victory as he beat Casper Ruud 6-3, 7-6(6).
The Perth victory punched the Russian ticket to the knockout stage in Sydney starting on Friday with the quarter-finals as group winners from Perth, Brisbane and Sydney converge.
They join Australia in the last eight in the 24-nation tournament designed as an antidote to the reduced-format Davis Cup form November which is challenging superiority ion the continuing tennis war of money and prestige.
Russia, coached by former Australian Open champion Marat Safin started off the tie against Norway as Karen Khachanov beat Viktor Durasovic 6-2, 6-1.
US Open finalist Medeved had to overcome a minor swoon as he played improving No. 54 Ruud, whose former ATP player father Christian coached the side.
Ruud dropped the first set but lead 4-2 in the second-set tiebreaker before Medvedev slammed the door on any upset hopes which would have taken the tie into a deciding doubles rubber.
“I had my tactics, my plans,” Medvedev said. “He was playing very strong on the backhand side.
“The score doesn’t say everything about this match – it was a lot closer than it looked,” said the player who went to the net 19 times, successfully on 14 of those trips.
“I didn’t feel so good mentally all the time today. I was not happy at times about myself.”
“But in the end, I like my tactics, I was able to find a way to win the match,” he said after winning his third and final singles match of the preliminary tournaments rounds.
Khachanov, who got his nation away to the winning start by beating Durasovic, said his first-match status means an early morning start.
“I had to get up at 6:30,” the Russian ranked 17th said. “But I was well prepared early and happy to get the first point for us.
“We are very happy to be playing in the quarter-finals. Marat has been pushing us every day. he’s a legend in our sport and it’s an honour to share the bench with him.”