Andrey Rublev should take a lot of confidence from his dramatic victory against Daniil Medvedev at the ATP Finals on Monday.
Rublev rallied after he had squandered seven set points in the first set and earned a 6-7(7), 6-3, 7-6(7) victory on his fifth match point in Turin.
The 25-year-old Rublev hit with power and depth throughout against the fourth seed in his opening Red Group match breaking down one of the best defences in tennis.
Rublev struck 25 winners across the second and third sets, getting through Medvedev in the fast indoor conditions with his flat and precise groundstrokes.
Rublev hugged the baseline as he took the ball early off both wings to take time away from Medvedev.
In the climax, he outlasted Medvedev in an epic 37-shot rally to finally seal victory on his fifth match point in the third-set tie-break.
Rublev improved to 2-4 in his ATP Tour head-to-head record against Medvedev.
“I was thinking about the US Open, because when we played in the quarter-finals in 2020, I think I was 5/1 in a tie-break, also something like 6/2, but I was leading something similar in a tie-break,” Rublev said.
“But when I lost that set, I couldn’t play anymore, and I was thinking it cannot happen the same [again], I have to change something. I have to keep playing, because if I win one set, even if I lose in three sets, it’s still good because here you have a group. So you have to fight for every point, every game, and I was able to win.
“The final tie-break, the rallies that we had there were crazy. The last rally, we had I don’t know, 30 shots. I was cramping a bit already, but I was thinking ‘One more, one more’. You have to keep playing. For sure he felt the same, so just keep playing if you have the chance, just go for it’. In the end I was able to win.”
Following his two-hour-31-minute win, Rublev dropped to the floor in delight before jumping up and absorbing the roar from the vocal Milanese crowd.
Rublev will also face Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic in the Red Group, with the Greek facing the Serbian in the night session on Monday.
The 25-year-old also remained disciplined, waiting patiently during the longer exchanges, taking his shots on when Medvedev dropped the ball short. When Rublev did get aggressive, he was clinical, winning the point 82 per cent of the time when attacking.
The sixth seed is looking to regain his best form in Turin, having suffered second-round exits in Vienna and Paris. Earlier this year, the World No. 7 lifted tour-level trophies in Marseille, Dubai, Belgrade and Gijon.
Medvedev has proven tough to stop at the ATP Finals in recent years, winning the title in 2020 before being runner-up last year.
However, the 26-year-old struggled to find consistency against Rublev, with the sixth seed forcing Medvedev into errors with his baseline aggression.
Medvedev aims to become the 11th different player to win multiple ATP Finals titles.
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