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Russia wins ATP Cup final, AO lead-in events wrap up

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-02-07 17:09
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Russia's Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Aslan Karatsev and Evgeny Donskoy celebrate winning the ATP Cup with the trophy after their final against Italy Feb 7, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

SYDNEY - Team Russia claimed the second-ever ATP Cup championship on Sunday, comfortably dispatching Italy with stellar singles performances by Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev.

Meanwhile World No. 1 Ash Barty finished on top of the lead-in event, the Yarra Valley Classic, beating a formidable Garbine Muguruza, 7-6 (3), 6-4.

In the Great Ocean Road Open, 19-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner held out against countryman Stefano Travaglia, 7-6 (4), 6-4, while Elise Mertens made short work of Estonian Kaia Kanepi 6-4, 6-1 in the Gippsland Trophy.

Rounding out the four finals of the Melbourne Summer Series, Britain's Dan Evans defeated Canadian youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime, 6-2, 6-3, to claim his first career ATP title at the Murray River Open.

In the week before the Australian Open kicks off, all events were disrupted by a lone case of COVID-19 detected in a hotel quarantine worker. Matches were canceled on Thursday forcing a condensed finals schedule over the weekend, and some players including Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, and Victoria Azarenka withdrew from the matches.

Due to the delayed schedule, one of the WTA500 events, the Grampians Trophy ended on Sunday with two semi-finals as the last matches. No.6 seed Anett Kontaveit and first-time WTA semifinalist Ann Li, as the finalists will both receive finalist points and finalist prize money.

Despite the interruptions, the new format team battle ATP Cup again proved popular with players and fans and included the surprise toppling of last year's finalists Serbia and Spain.

The double Russian threat of Medvedev and Rublev dominated throughout the week, winning all eight of their singles matches against some of the best players in the world.

"I want to thank my team. Andrey won all of his matches," Medvedev said afterward. "It's a really big achievement because I also didn't lose a match. It's a big boost in confidence."

Rublev continued his recent form which saw him reach the men's top ten rankings for the first time in October last year. The 23-year-old overpowered Italy's Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-2 setting up Medvedev to clinch the victory.

The World No. 4 did not disappoint, defeating Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 6-2 to cap a stellar performance throughout the tournament and raise the ATP Cup for Russia.

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