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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday April 17, 2021

Andrey Rublev

Andrey Rublev defeated Casper Ruud in straight sets to book a final clash with Stefano Tsitsipas in Monte-Carlo.

Photo Source: Getty

Less than 24 hours after pulling a major upset over King of Clay Rafael Nadal in Monte-Carlo, Russia’s Andrey Rublev backed up his win to take his place in the final alongside Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Tennis Express

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Rublev. “Especially because it’s my first final at Masters 1000, so I’m really happy.”

Sunday's champion will be just the 14th first-time Masters 1000 champion to be claimed in the last ten years, and the second in consecutive weeks (Hurkacz, Miami).

The 23-year-old World No.8 was imperious as he took down Norway’s Casper Ruud, 6-3, 7-5 to book his first Masters 1000 final appearance. Earlier on Saturday Tsitsipas waltzed past Dan Evans 6-2, 6-1.

"It's a dream of mine, to be playing in the final, honestly," said Tsitsipas on Saturday.

“It’s gonna be interesting,” Rublev said of his seventh career meeting with Tsitsipas. The pair of split the previous six, with each taking a victory against the other on clay. “I hope we can show great level and people will enjoy—that’s all I can say.”

Impressively, Rublev improved to 14-2 on clay since the restart of the ATP Tour last year, and he is now 8-1 at Masters 1000 events in 2021—he began the season with a record of 14-21 in such events.

Rublev improves to 24-4 overall on the season.

Rublev was able to keep Ruud from dominating with his lethal forehand throughout the contest, and his dedication to this tactic helped him wrestle control from the Norwegian in the opening set, even after he fell behind by an early break.

Ruud led 2-1, but Rublev broke twice in succession and reeled off four straight games to lead 5-2 before Ruud would hold again.

But the Russian served out the opener to 15 and broke again to open the second set.

“Casper is a really amazing player, especially on clay, since the beginning he put really high intensity, and it was really tough, and I knew that I needed to raise my level if I wanted to fight against him,” Rublev said.

Ruud, playing in his second career Masters 1000 semifinal, wasn’t done yet however. The 22-year-old broke Rublev twice, reeling off four straight games to lead 4-2, but again Rublev answered, breaking back immediately and then levelling at 4-4 and 5-5, before breaking Ruud again for 6-5.

He closed the contest in one hour and 20 minutes with a love hold to improve to 4-0 lifetime against Ruud.

The Russian finished with 21 winners, including nine from the forehand side, against 19 unforced errors. Ruud was held to just 11 winners, six on the forehand side, against 26 unforced errors (17 forehand).

Rublev converted all five of his break point opportunities, and has broken serve 12 times in his last two matches (seven times against Nadal).


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