Andrey Rublev was at his best at times during a thrilling fightback in his clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas in Turin on Friday night.
Rublev snatched a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory to reach the semi-finals at the ATP Finals.
It was a match that would decide the second-place finisher in Red Group of the Finals.
Rublev had to survive an early bombardment laid down by Tsitsipas on his way to claiming a massive victory at the season finale.
The sixth seed would then continue to hit through his groundstrokes though and go on to seal his 51st win of the ATP season season, despite that early pressure from Tsitsipas
“I didn’t give up. I kept fighting and playing,” Rublev said. “I lost my emotions a bit when I lost a stupid game at 40/0 in the first set. I let my emotions go. But then I just kept fighting and playing and you will have chances. I thought I would have chances if I just gave my best. I managed to turn the match around and I am happy to be in the semis.”
Rublev had lost his two prior clashes with Tsitsipas in 2022.
However, The Marseille, Dubai, Belgrade and Gijon champion showed resilience at key moments.
Rublev’s game centred around crashing 36 winners which powered a high-quality one-hour, 42-minute victory .
The 25-year-old hadn’t gone beyond the group stage in his two previous ATP Finals appearances, however he goes on to face third seeded Casper Ruud in Saturday’s last four.
“I am really looking forward [to the match] because Casper is such a nice person on and off the court,” Rublev said. “He is a great player, great fighter. He has achieved so many good things this season, so it is going to be a really good challenge for me. I hope I will do my best and I will see what happens.”
Rublev expressed doubt in his chances of moving beyond a group that featured three former champions in Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic.
“My first reaction [to the group] was not good,” Rublev had said before the tournament. “I thought, ‘What am I doing here, in this group?’”
Just a week later, the 25-year-old has proven himself wrong after clinching hard-fought three-set victories against Medvedev and Tsitsipas.
Rublev’s has beeen able to fire winners off both wings which has been crucial to his good form.
His powerful game appears to be thriving in the fast-paced conditions in Turin.
In the third set against Tsitsipas, Rublev took charge of the pair’s make or break encounter by aggressively and accurately countering the Greek’s serve, which he went on to break twice.
Tsitsipas had started quickly breaking through on the Rublev serve in the fourth game as his one-handed backhand stood up impressively to a barrage of heavy-hitting from his opponent.
That initial break proved sufficient to clinch a set in which the Greek dropped just two points behind serve.
Rublev continued to try and overpower Tsitsipas with his ferocious forehand, however, and the tactic paid off in the eighth game of the second set.
The recent titlist let out a roar after securing the break against Tsitsipas for 5-3, and then dug deep to fend off a break-back point, hold serve, and force the deciding set.
Rublev rode the wave of momentum to victory clinched in some style in the decider.
He would break Tsitsipas’ serve twice en route to a clinical win that allowed him to improve his record against opponents ranked No 3 in the ATP Rankings to 5-1.
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