MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev won their respective singles matches on Wednesday to help Russia join Italy in the semi-finals of the team-based ATP Cup in Melbourne.
ATP Finals winner Medvedev took down Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-2 6-4 after Rublev's dominant 6-1 6-3 victory again Yoshihito Nishioka, setting up Russia's second victory in Group D after the side defeated Argentina on Tuesday.
"Semis is a big step," Medvedev told reporters. "Looking forward, really happy that we made it in both singles."
Germany also boosted their chances of progressing to the last four by defeating Canada at the Rod Laver Arena in Group A to set up a knockout tie against defending champions Serbia on Thursday.
World number six Stefanos Tsitsipas levelled the Group B tie for Greece against Australia with a 6-3 7-5 win over Alex de Minaur in front of a raucous crowd after John Millman gave the hosts the lead with a 6-2 6-3 win over Michail Pervolarakis.
John Peers and Luke Saville then clinched a 6-3 4-6 (10-5) doubles win over Tsitsipas and Pervolarakis to help Australia win the tie 2-1 and keep their semi-final hopes alive after Tuesday's 3-0 drubbing by Spain.
With the second edition of the competition truncated because of Australian Open coronavirus quarantine, victory for Fabio Fognini and Matteo Berrettini in the singles combined with Tuesday's 2-1 win over Austria ensured Italy would top Group C.
Fognini downed Benoit Paire 6-1 7-6(2) in the opening match of the day on John Cain Arena before Matteo Berrettini outwitted Gael Monfils 6-4 6-2 to make France's doubles win academic.
If that clash was one-sided, the Germany-Canada Group A tie was anything but with four of the fives sets in the two singles matches decided by tiebreakers.
Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff dominated the first two and finished off Milos Raonic with a thumping ace for a 7-6(4) 7-6(2) victory that gave Germany a 1-0 lead in their opening tie.
After losing 2-1 to Novak Djokovic's Serbia on Tuesday, Canada needed to win the tie to stay alive in the competition and Denis Shapovalov made a positive start by taking the first set against Alexander Zverev.
Shapovalov, backing up after a loss to Djokovic, needed treatment on his shoulder as world number seven Zverev levelled up the contest in the second set, however.
Zverev, in his first match of the year, warmed to his task in a tight deciding set but was unable to convert seven break points as Shapovalov dug deep.
Shapovalov had his chances in the decisive tiebreak but an unforced error and a double fault at crucial moments opened the door for Zverev and the German stormed through it with his 14th and 15th aces for a 6-7(5) 6-3 7-6(4) victory.
"Winning a team event, winning something for your country it's one of the biggest things in our sport," Zverev said. "I think the ATP Cup is just as big as the Davis Cup right now."
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney and Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Robert Birsel)