Davis Cup: Andrey Rublev seals Russia`s comeback, beat Spain 3-2
Teenager Andrey Rublev completed a dramatic Russian comeback in their Davis Cup Group One Euro-African Zone second round tie against Spain, his straight sets victory over Pablo Andujar on Sunday handing the hosts an unlikely 3-2 win.
Vladivostok: Teenager Andrey Rublev completed a dramatic Russian comeback in their Davis Cup Group One Euro-African Zone second round tie against Spain, his straight sets victory over Pablo Andujar on Sunday handing the hosts an unlikely 3-2 win.
The 17-year-old Rublev won 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 in his first ever meeting with the Spaniard in two hours to help Russia to battle back from two rubbers down after the first day into the Davis Cup World Group play-offs.
"It`s fantastic! I just cannot keep my emotions under control," Rublev said.
"After the first day I couldn`t imagine that my match with Andujar would matter for something.
"Today I gave all I have for this win. I`ve never played five-setters in my career but our fans` supports gave my plenty of extra energy. On the court I felt I was ready to run again and again."
Rublev and Andujar looked even from the start at the hardcourt of Vladivostok`s Fetisov arena until the seventh game when the Russian teenager broke to take the opening set in 38 minutes.
The opponents traded breaks halfway into the second set, which then went to a tiebreak.
Andujar, who is 37th in the ATP rankings, led the score 3-0 but suddenly lost his nerve allowing Rublev to win four consecutive points to gain a comfortable two-set advantage after one hour 27 minutes on court.
In the third the 29-year-old Spaniard allowed the Muscovite to break his serve at love for a comfortable 3-0 advantage, which he confidently kept through to win the set and the match.
Spanish team skipper Conchita Martinez praised the Russians, also saying the fact the tie took place in Vladivostok, "so far from our homeland was of course very inconvenient for us".
"Nevertheless, we tried to do everything for the win, but in sport there are no guarantees."
Martinez also denied that her team had sat back after taking a 2-0 lead.
"It`s not true," she said. "We didn`t relax for a second. Just after Friday we failed to win more points."
Earlier on Sunday Russia`s Evgeny Donskoy beat Tommy Robredo 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) in their first ever meeting in two hours 27 minutes to level the score at 2-2.
"It was a very nervous match especially the fourth set which went up and down all the way," Donskoy said.
"I led the score but lost control and allowed Tommy (Robredo) to level. Later on he has three set points which I managed to survive before winning the tiebreak.
"It was a real roller-coaster. Luckily, I managed to win."
Robredo meanwhile said that Donskoy won deservedly.
"Donskoy was just better," he said.
"His today`s game, certainly, didn`t correspond to a place which he now stands in the rating.
"Besides, this surface suits his style as Donskoy uses flat strokes more often than me."
Five-time former Davis Cup titleholders Spain made the 13,000 kilometre trip from Madrid to the city near Russia`s border with North Korea and China without stars David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal.
After Friday`s rubbers the Spaniards took a commanding 2-0 lead as their veteran Robredo got off to a perfect start by beating teenager Rublev 6-2, 6-3, 6-3, while Andujar despatched Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-3, 6-2
The opening day wins gave Spanish tennis something to smile about after Nadal`s swift Wimbledon demise and conflict at the Spanish Tennis Federation.
But on Saturday Donskoy and Konstantin Kravchuk put Russia back on track with a hard-fought doubles win 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 before Donskoy and Rublev won their rubbers on Sunday to complete their team`s comeback.