Both the players conjured up near-perfect performances.

World No. 4 Daniil Medvedev defeated Italian Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 6-2 after Andrey Rublev overpowered Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-2 as Russia won the ATP Cup title on Sunday.

Medvedev and Rublev dominated throughout the week in the ATP Cup, winning all eight singles matches they played against some of the best players in the world. They combined to lose just two sets to lead their country to glory at Melbourne Park.

“I want to thank my team. Andrey won all of his matches. Thank you for being with me here and lifting this trophy in a few moments,” said Medvedev.

He faced a stern test against Berrettini, who did not lose a set against three of the top 13 players in the ATP Rankings to push his country to the final. But the Russian passed with flying colours. He was too solid for the Italian and he triumphed after one hour and 20 minutes.

Medvedev has won a personal-best 14 consecutive matches dating back to the start of last year’s Paris Masters, with 10 of those triumphs coming against Top 10 opponents. The 24-year-old won the title in Paris-Bercy and then lifted the biggest trophy of his career at the Nitto ATP Finals to finish 2020.

He remarked, “It’s a really big achievement because I also didn’t lose a match. Yeah, 10 matches against Top 10 opponents, didn’t lose a match in these 10 matches. It’s a big boost in confidence. Even when you lose, you know that you’re capable of playing this level, and it helps you for the next time to stand up.”

Medvedev has maintained his momentum — and added to it — with his effort at the ATP Cup, where he led Russia to the semi-finals last year. The 2019 US Open finalist is now arguably the second favourite at the Australian Open behind eight-time champion Novak Djokovic.

Throughout the tournament, Berrettini powered his way past every opponent in front of him-including World No. 3 Dominic Thiem-using his forehand to push them back before throwing in drop shots and net charges when necessary. But Medvedev pinned the Italian deep in his backhand corner, and the World No. 10 never found a solution to get out of that pattern.

Berrettini unleashed some big forehands during the match, showing how dangerous that shot is. But the Russian often went to the Italian’s stronger wing on his terms, forcing the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals competitor to go for more aggressive shots from tough positions, which backfired on several occasions.

The Italian was mostly successful with his drop shot at this event, but even that proved unsuccessful against the Russian. Medvedev went up a double-break in the second set by tracking down a drop volley and delivering a body blow to win the point. The nine-time ATP Tour titlist broke the Italian’s serve three times and did not drop his own serve.

“Congrats to my team. It was the first time for the ATP Cup, for me at least. I had an unbelievable week. We had a lot of fun, great tennis,” Berrettini concluded.