Daniil Medvedev, world No.2 and winner of the US Open, Andrey Rublev, 5th worldwide, Aslan Karatsev, 18th and Karen Khachanov, 29th: the Russians undoubtedly had the strongest team on paper.

They confirmed it on the ground, especially on Sunday in the final where they won the two singles: Rublev beat Borna Gojo (279th) 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) and Medvedev beat Marin Cilic (30th) 7-6 (9/7), 6-2.

The double was without stake, and fortunately for the Russians!

The joy of Russian Andrey Rublev, after his victory against Croatian Borna Cojo (6-4, 7-6 (7/5)), in the 1st single of the Davis Cup final, on December 5, 2021 in Madrid OSCAR DEL POZO AFP

Because in this competition in three matches, the double, their weak point, could have been decisive in the event of defeat of one of the two Russians in singles.

And Croatia have the best pair in the world with Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic, Olympic champions and Wimbledon winners in 2021.

Rublev and Karatsev, who the world discovered at the Australian Open earlier this year with his run to the semi-finals where he only gave in to future champion Novak Djokovic, won the only match. decisive they had to win during the competition, the one against Spain in the group stage which allowed Russia to qualify for the quarter-finals.

Do the job

But against Mektic / Pavic, who did not give up their stake in the tournament once, their chances were very low.

So Rublev and Medvedev got the job done.

As in the semi-finals where the double against the Germans Pütz / Krawietz represented a likely fatal pitfall, they secured the victory beforehand.

Gojo, revelation of the competition with victories in particular over Sonego (27th) and Lajovic (33rd), did not explode under the blows of Rublev as the German Dominik Koepfer had done in the semi-finals.

Russian Andrey Rublev, in the 1st Davis Cup single against Croatian Borna Cojo, December 5, 2021 in Madrid OSCAR DEL POZO AFP

He even resisted very well, but in the end, he did not do better since the point of the game went to the Russian who did not concede a single break point.

It remained for Medvedev to conclude.

But Cilic put up a resistance that the Russian had never encountered since the start of the tournament.

Especially in the first set, because after the loss of the tie break, the Croatian was clearly more dominated.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, winner of Croatian Marico Cilic (7-6 (8/6), 6-2) in the 2nd single of the Davis Cup final, December 5, 2021 in Granollers (Spain) OSCAR DEL POZO AFP

No national flag, a team called the Russian Tennis Federation, Tchaikovsky's piano concerto as an anthem due to doping-related sanctions in Russian sport but, like in 2002 and 2006 ... But that's good in Moscow that the Silver Salad Bowl will leave.

© 2021 AFP