Sydney, Australia, 4 January 2022 | Leigh Rogers

Team Russia has powered to a thrilling 3-0 win against Team Australia in ATP Cup action at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney tonight.

World No.2 Daniil Medvedev sealed victory for his nation, outsmarting Australian Alex de Minaur 6-4 6-2 in a highly-anticipated contest.

Not even a vocal home crowd could help world No.34 De Minaur stop the all-conquering Russian, who won a tour-leading 62 matches last season.

“He’s a very tactical player in the sense of he baits you very well to go for a lot,” De Minaur said. “He’s obviously a very good mover with very good end-range shots. I mean, to beat him you got to obviously be aggressive and take the net, but at the same time you don’t want to over press and I feel like I did a bit of that today and made a couple too many unforced errors.”

Medvedev showed the brilliance that helped him capture last year’s US Open title, producing a measured performance against the in-form Aussie. Medvedev lost just 14 points on serve in the 80-minute match.

“It didn’t go my way, but you live and you learn,” De Minaur said. “(I) didn’t execute how I wanted to today, but there’s always tomorrow. There’s always things to improve on, lots of things I learned today and we move on.”

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Earlier in the evening, world No.167 Roman Safiullin spoiled James Duckworth’s ATP Cup debut.

The unheralded 24-year-old was fearless in a 7-6(6) 6-4 victory, striking 12 aces and 33 winners in total.

Safiullin also dominated on serve, conceding only 18 points, to prevent world No.49 Duckworth from building any momentum in their one-hour and 58-minute battle.

“All the boys on the bench and the home support was great,” Duckworth said. “I just wish I could have performed a bit better.

“I didn’t serve well the whole match.”

Medvedev and Safiullin continued their winning form in doubles, combining brilliantly to beat Aussie pair John Peers and Luke Saville in a high-quality three-set battle.

The Russian duo edged out a 7-6(7) 3-6 [10-6] victory to complete a clean-sweep of the tie.

Tonight’s result boosts Team Russia’s chances of finishing on top of Group B and advancing to the semifinals. The defending champions are unbeaten so far this week and can secure a semifinal spot with victory against Team Italy in their final round-robin match on Thursday.

Team Australia next faces Team France, led by world No.35 Ugo Humbert, on Thursday evening.

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Results – ATP Cup 2021

Team Russia d Team Australia 3-0
Roman Safiullin (RUS) d James Duckworth (AUS) 7-6(6) 6-4
Daniil Medvedev (RUS) d Alex de Minaur (AUS) 6-4 6-2
Daniil Medvedev/Roman Safiullin (RUS) d John Peers/Luke Saville (AUS) 7-6(7) 3-6 [10-6]