World No.4 Daniil Medvedev is primed for an Australian Open assault after spearheading Russia to victory in the ATP Cup final against Italy.
Medvedev crushed world No.10 Matteo Berrettini 6-4 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena to give his country an unassailable 2-0 lead in the teams event.
The 24-year-old’s success followed up countryman Andrey Rublev’s 6-1 6-2 demolition of Italian Fabio Fognini earlier on Sunday, meaning the doubles rubber was not required.
The highly ranked Russians were clinical during the entire ATP Cup, with neither player dropping a match.
Russia becomes the second nation to claim the ATP Cup after Serbia, led by Novak Djokovic, won the inaugural tournament last year.
Medvedev has reached the Australian Open fourth round in each of the past two years and is chasing a maiden grand slam title.
But the right-hander’s recent form has been superb and only Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Austrian Dominic Thiem are seeded higher.
After capturing the 2020 season-ending championship in London, Medvedev has continued his red-hot run to extend his winning streak to 14 matches.
“Ten matches against top-10 opponents, and I didn’t lose a match,” Medvedev told reporters.
“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.
“Hopefully I can show a great level like I did these last matches, then I will have my chance to win matches.”
Medvedev, whose best result at a major is runner-up to Rafael Nadal in the 2019 US Open, will meet unseeded Canadian Vasek Pospisil in the first round at Melbourne Park.
He exited last year’s Australian Open after losing to 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka in a five-set epic.
The baseline counter-puncher is excited to be back playing in front of reasonable-sized crowds again and believes it will lift the quality of play at Melbourne Park.
“I think we’re all happy that the crowd is back at least here in Melbourne,” Medvedev said.
Seventh seed Rublev will face German Yannick Hanfmann in his opening match on Monday.
Rublev also bowed out in the fourth-round at Melbourne Park last year, going down to Alexander Zverev.