MADRID: Andrey Rublev gave Russia a 1-0 lead over Germany in their Davis Cup semifinals after beating Dominik Koepfer 6-4, 6-0 on Saturday. The fifth-ranked Rublev smashed in six aces to ease to a set advantage on the indoor hard court at the Madrid Arena.
Koepfer then faded fast, ceding breaks in his three service games of the second set as Rublev cruised to victory. Second-ranked Daniil Medvedev will look to seal the win for Russia in the best-of-three series later when he plays Jan-Lennard Struff.
If Struff can pull Germany level, it would go to a doubles decider. Rublev and Aslan Karatsev are slated to meet Germany's Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz in doubles if needed. Croatia awaits the winner in Sunday’s final after beating Novak Djokovic's Serbia on Friday.
The Russian team is officially being called RTF (Russian Tennis Federation) in the competition amid its ongoing doping suspension in international sport.