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Russia's Daniil Medvedev and Roman Safiullin celebrate after winning their group stage doubles match against Italy in the ATP Cup on Thursday. Image Credit: Reuters

Sydney: World No 2 Daniil Medvedev beat Italian Matteo Berrettini in the singles and then returned to the court to clinch the deciding doubles and fire defending champions Russia into the ATP Cup semi-finals on Thursday.

A depleted Russia came into the $10 million tournament without fifth-ranked Andrey Rublev and world No 18 Aslan Karatsev after both tested positive for COVID-19 in the lead-up to the team event.

In a winner-takes-all final Group B tie, Italy took the lead through Jannik Sinner’s 7-6(6), 6-3 win over Roman Safiullin but Medvedev staved off a fight back from world No 7 and Wimbledon finalist Berrettini to win 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4 and level the tie.

“The first set I was in control and it’s tricky because you think that things will continue to go your way but that’s not the case when you’re up against a top 10 player,” US Open champion Medvedev said.

All four players returned for the decisive doubles on Ken Rosewall Arena and it was the Russian pair of Medvedev and Safiullin, who emerged triumphant, taking a final set super tiebreak 7-5, 4-6, 10-5.

This year’s ATP Cup has featured 16 teams with the four group winners proceeding to the semi-finals.

Poland will take on Spain in the first semi-final on Friday and Russia, who beat Italy in the final of last year’s event, will meet the winners of Group C on Saturday.

Britain keep hopes alive

Daniel Evans and Jamie Murray rallied to beat Americans Taylor Fritz and John Isner 6-7(3), 7-5, 10-8 in the deciding doubles to hand Britain a 2-1 win and keep alive their hopes of winning that group.

If Germany, led by Alexander Zverev, defeat Canada in the final group tie later on Thursday then Britain will claim the last semi-final spot. A win for Canada will see them through to face the Russians.

Evans had earlier picked up his third straight singles win at the tournament by taking down big server Isner 6-4 7-6(3). Fritz then forced the tie into a deciding doubles after beating Briton Cameron Norrie 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-1.