Russia took an unassailable 2-0 lead over Croatia in the Davis Cup final in Madrid Sunday to secure their third title and first in 15 years, as Daniil Medvedev outlasted Croatian Marin Cilic 7-6 (7) 6-2.
Reigning US Open champion Medvedev had to produce his best tennis to survive a tense first set as a confident Cilic sent across nine forehand winners and won nearly three-quarters of his service points.
The awed crowd inside Madrid Arena was reduced to pin-drop silence as the 1.98m titans went into a tiebreak, where Medvedev relied on his backhand to prevail despite an ill-timed double fault.
Cilic showed signs of fatigue in the second set as the world No 2 broke his serve in the fourth game before running away with the momentum, dropping just one of his first-serve points.
Medvedev got a standing ovation from the crowd and made peace with the Spanish fans following a week of animosity after Russia eliminated Spain in the group stage of the Davis Finals. Earlier world No 5 Andrey Rublev beat Borna Gojo 6-4 7-6 (5) to give the Russian Federation a 1-0 lead.