Vladivostok - Veteran Tommy Robredo put Spain 1-0 up with a straight-set win
over Russia's Andrey Rublev in the Davis Cup Group One Euro-African Zone second
round tie in Vladivostok on Friday.
Five-time former champions Spain made the 13 000 kilometre trip from Madrid
to the city near Russia's border with North Korea and China without stars David
Ferrer and Rafael Nadal.
But Robredo got the team coached by former Wimbledon champion Conchita
Martinez after Gala Leon was sacked off to the perfect start.
The 33-year-old, ranked 21st in the ATP rankings, took two hours to see off
Rublev 6-2, 6-3, 6-3.
"It was much tougher than you'd think looking at the score line,"
"Towards the end it was very hard to keep my concentration and energy
because of the high humidity here in Vladivostok. But my team-mates' support
helped me a lot.
"Of course I had an advantage as my experience helped me today in the
Robredo's win gave Spanish tennis something to smile about after Nadal's
swift Wimbledon demise and conflict at the Spanish Tennis Federation.
Fernando Fernandez-Ladreda was this month named as the body's new president
in place of Jose Luis Escanuela, who quit over mis-management charges.
Robredo commented: "I believe that our team's strong spirit will help
us to overcome the consequences of the recent conflict in our tennis
federation. We all want to return to the World Group as soon as possible.
"I made the first step and I hope that Pablo (Andujar) will make the
second one in that direction."
The experienced Robredo looked more confident on the hard court of
Vladivostok Fetisov arena breaking the Russian teenager's serve from the start.
Rublev, 17, broke back in the fourth game to level but Robredo outclassed
his rival with a series of precise drives from the baseline and spinners
producing two more breaks to take the set in 35 minutes.
In the second Robredo was in complete command breaking his opponent's serve
twice again for a commanding 2-0 advantage after one hour 13 minutes on court.
In the third Rublev, 194th in the world, tried to reduce the arrears but to
no avail as Robredo broke his serve in the eighth game to win the set and the
match with an ace.
Friday's second singles features Russia's Karen Khachanov against Spain's
The doubles clash will continue the tie's programme on Saturday, while
reversed singles will finish the schedule on Sunday.