Two great tennis playing nations with good Davis Cup tradition. Spain are the defending champs of course having won the last edition making it 6 Cups. Russia ,who won it twice, boast two players in the top 10 of the singles in the Men’s game in Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev. My focus today is on the match between Rublev and Feliciano Lopez both seeded second by their countries. Lopez is a veteran of the Tour and is mostly known for his two wins at Queens Club in England in 2017 and 2019. This was the first singles match with Medvedev and Carreno Busta following, no Rafa Nadal of course because of injury. Good start from Rublev. Lopez a lefty had a tough time on serve as he was blown away in the first set. Watch the double fault at 3-1 deuce. The body movement on that second serve wasn’t that good. The shoulder dropping too quickly for my liking. What those two wins at Queens show was that Lopez is a fantastic serve and volley player. Watch 5-1 Russia(15-15). This is how dangerous lefties are when serving to the right hander wide cross court on the deuce court, the element of surprise coming to the net was the coupe de grace. That was his best service game of the set, but it wasn’t a great one Spaniard. Andrey duly wrapped it up with a exclamation point love serve game 6-2.

Home court advantage was with Spain in Madrid although WITH 75% capacity for the attendance due to coronavirus restrictions. The second set saw Feliciano stick to his net play game with Andrey looking lost as to how to handle it. Check out first point 15-30 Spain. However Rublev was better from the baseline and was far better with the ground strokes than Feliciano. Watch 1-0 Spain 30-0. Another point to note was that the Lopez serve got better in set two, flatter and to the body making Rublev play the weak return or miss it altogether. This allowed the advance to the net. He got to the Rublev serve at 3-2 by playing slower returns which troubled Rublev and often forced the error. A bit of luck there with net cord wouldn’t hurt hey. What Rublev needed to do was to find that gap for the passing shot which he couldn’t. He had a chance in my opinion at 4-2(15-30) if only he went down the line but went cross court straight at Feliciano. Lopez winning the set 6-3 and on to the decider, remember best of 5 sets is gone.

Although Rublev hit the ball better in the third, Lopez looked much more comfortable on the baseline. He knew when the right moment when to advance to the net. Lopez seized control of the third set in game 3 with exactly that MO. Check out break point at 15-40. Lopez was such a volley matching in this match. The volley on 4-3(40-0) was so refreshing to watch on a hard court. Those are becoming a dime a dozen in the modern game. He sealed the victory on his own racquet at 5-4 to get Spain off to a flyer. Daniil won his match with Busta in two sets to set up a tense doubles rubber. Russia came through in three sets when Lopez and Granollers lost to Aslan Karatsev and Rublev in three sets. No reverse rubbers in the latest Davis Cup format. Serbia who suffered a surprise loss to Germany(Zverev-less Germany) welcomed the favor from Russia as a win for Spain would have sent them packing.

GROUP A

NationPlayedWonLostSETSINFO
Russian Tennis Federation (RTF)2205 – 1+
Spain2114 – 2+
Ecuador2020 – 6+

GROUP B

NationPlayedWonLostSETSINFO
Kazakhstan2205 – 1+
Sweden2114 – 2+
Canada2020 – 6+

GROUP C

NationPlayedWonLostSETSINFO
Great Britain2204 – 2+
France2113 – 3+
Czech Republic2022 – 4+

GROUP D

NationPlayedWonLostSETSINFO
Croatia2205 – 1+
Australia2112 – 4+
Hungary2022 – 4+

GROUP E

NationPlayedWonLostSETSINFO
Italy2204 – 2+
Colombia2113 – 3+
USA2022 – 4+

GROUP F

NationPlayedWonLostSETSINFO
Germany2204 – 2+
Serbia2114 – 2+
Austria2021 – 5+