Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

The “Russian team” won the final! Medvedev, Rublev, Mirra – champions of the World Tennis League

Alexander Nasonov December 24, 2023, 20:56 Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.

Andrey screamed and cursed, lost the decisive match, but won in extra time.

On Sunday, December 24, the final match of the team exhibition tournament called the World Tennis League (WTL) took place in Abu Dhabi (UAE). The teams “Eagles” and “Kites”, or “Eagles” and “Korshuny”, respectively, in Russian, entered the decisive confrontation at WTL-2023. The Eagles played the entire tournament with the same lineup: Russians Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Mirra Andreeva and Moscow’s Sofia Kenin, representing the United States. As for the Knights, they started the tournament with Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece) – Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) – Arina Sabalenka (Belarus) – Paula Badosa (Spain). And already during the tournament they were joined by Lloyd Harris from South Africa.

On Saturday, December 23, the third day of the group stage was played. Our “Eagles” played their match against the “Korshunov”, but at that time they still did not know if they would play in the final. However, the confrontation between Hawks and Knights, which crowned the group stage, ended with the “correct” score. Read more about this and all the twists and turns of the third day in a separate article.

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The format of the tournament, in which all four teams are in the same group, obviously meant that the participants in the final had already faced each other in the group. The Eagles and the Comets faced each other on the first day of the tournament, December 21, and then the victory went to the Comets, who beat the Eagles with 27:22. Read more about this in a separate article.

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The WTL-2023 final began with a mixed doubles match, in which Andreeva and Medvedev faced Badosa and Tsitsipas, who rested on Friday and Saturday. The Russians confidently entered the game, easily regaining their serves, and in the first two games they missed three break points each, including one on decisive points.

In the tenth game, Mirra and Daniil, by 5:4, 40:40, in the reception lost a match point in their favor by 5:5. And in game 12, our pair did not take advantage of the double match point on the reception and we had to play a tiebreaker. The tennis players reached 5:5 with two mini-breaks. After that, Badosa and Tsitsipas took their serve, and then each other’s, converting the first match point 7:6 (7:5) in 49 minutes.

In the women’s doubles match, Andreeva and Kenin faced Badosa and Sabalenka. In the first matches, the tennis players regularly reached the decisive play, which was always in the hands of the servers. Mirra and Sophia were especially offended in the third game, which Paula and Arina won, leaving them with 0:40 on their serve. Then came a turning point in the match: Badosa and Sabalenka improved and went ahead 4:1 with a break. In the eighth game, winning the match 5-2, the Belarusians and Spaniards lost a double match point 5-3.

After this there was a turning point, now in the other direction. Our “Eagles” – and in this case the “Eagles” – made a real comeback! Andreeva and Kenin paused, won the decisive point (again it was a match point for their opponents) and then took the game to zero 5:5. They did not stop there and, after making the second consecutive break in the eleventh game (after a double error by Sabalenka), they served for the match: 7:5 in 45 minutes. As a result, Mirra and Sophia won five games in a row and the total score was 13:12 in favor of the Eagles.

In men’s doubles, Medvedev and Rublev took the court against Harris and Dimitrov. No one here managed to reach a breaking point for a long time. And in the eighth game, the Russians got down to business and, having lost only one point in the reception, scored a break for 5:3. Then Daniil and Andrey served for the set: 6:3 in 26 minutes. And the score was 19:15 in favor of the Eagles.

After that, it was time for the individual matches. In the women’s match, Kenin faced Sabalenka. In official matches, the Belarusian is ahead: 3-1. But here the Moscow native turned out to be a little better. In the fifth game, Sofia was the first to break, winning the decisive point, after which she broke her serve for 4:2. In the ninth game, Kenin, with the score 5: 3 in her favor, gave up a match point in the decisive play: 5: 4. And in the tenth she served for the match: 6-4 in 32 minutes. And the score was 25:19 in favor of the Eagles.

Finally, the program for the entire tournament was closed by Rublev and Dimitrov. In official matches, the Russian had a slight advantage: 4-3. Furthermore, on the first day of WTL-2023, the Russian defeated the Bulgarian 6-3. In this match, Andrey immediately took his game on the decisive point, after which he made a break for 2-0. But then there was a slight decline in his game and Grigor took four games in a row 4-2. The key moment in this segment was in the fourth game, when Rublev, accepting, lost the decisive point and instead of 3-1 it turned out to be 2-2.

Andrei Rublev

Photo: Getty Images

In the ninth game, Dimitrov, winning 5:3, took advantage of the first match point 6:3. The score was 28:25 in favor of the Eagles, but that was not all, since the last game was won by the team that was inferior on the scoreboard. According to the regulations, extra time was allocated, in which Rublev, who was quite nervous, shouting and cursing, had to win only one game until Dimitrov caught up with him (that is, without allowing Grigor to win three games in a row). . The Bulgarian won the first game in extra time with his serve, but then the Russian did the same, finishing with an ace, and the match, and with it the tournament, ended 6: 3, 1: 1 in 37 minutes.

Eagles – Knights – 29:26

Andreeva/Medvedev – Badosa/Tsitsipas – 6:7 (5:7). Andreeva/Kenin – Sabalenka/Badosa – 7:5. Medvedev/Rublev – Harris/Dimitrov – 6:3. Kenin – Sabalenka – 6:4. Rublev — Dimitrov — 3:6, 1:1.

Thus, the Eagles became champions of the tournament and the Knights took second place. The Falcons and Hawks, who did not qualify from the group, finished third and fourth, respectively.

Recall that in early December, Andrei Rublev participated in the final of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) exhibition tournament series. There he caused a scandal in the semifinals.

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