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By Alberto Amalfi | Saturday, January 6, 2024


Andrey Rublev ripped 12 aces stopping the Cinderella run of China's Shang Juncheng 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, to reach the Hong Kong final.

Photo credit: Bank of China Hong Kong Tennis Open 2024

Andrey Rublev defused danger to roar into the Hong Kong final.

Rublev stopped the Cinderella run of China's Shang Juncheng 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, to reach the Bank of China Hong Kong Tennis Open final.

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“I am really happy to play my first final of the season in Hong Kong,” said Rublev. “It was a super tough match. He is super talented. Super powerful.

"He was playing unbelievable, and I was thinking at some moments I have no chance. In one moment I didn’t know what to do; I just keep fighting, just keep trying to stay positive."

Playing catch-up from the start, Rublev stabilized his emotions and game. 

World No. 5 Rublev ripped 12 aces against one double fault and fended off 13 of 14 break points in a two hour, 10-minute comeback victory.

“Since the beginning he was leading the match. I was more afraid, like what to do," Rublev said. "We were playing three minutes and I was losing with a break, he was playing unreal.

"I was just trying to say something positive to put less negative thoughts in my head and somehow I was able to turn around the match and win it. “In the end, I was able to make a break, I won the second set, and then the third set we were equal until the last game."

Tennis Express

It was Rublev's second straight win over a talented teenager. Rublev repelled 19-year-old Frenchman Arthur Fils 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

The top-seeded Rublev will face Emil Ruusuvuori in tomorrow's final at Victoria Park Stadium.

Earlier, Ruusuvuori rallied past Austrian Sebastian Ofner 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

It is Ruusuvuori's second ATP final and first since 2022.

The 24 year old’s path to the final went through Benjamin Bonzi in the first round, and then past tournament second seed and World No. 15 Karen Khachanov in the second, before a straight sets win over Pavel Kotov put him into semifinals.

“Full crowd; a very, very tough match and a very good win and now into the final. That is why we play tennis, so I’m just gonna go and enjoy that one,” said Ruusuvuori. “I just hang tight and tried to be a little bit tougher on every single point. Just tried to make it as tough as possible for him.

"Get the serves back. He serves big and super super aggressive, a constant fight and I was able to come through."

The 37th-ranked baseliner from Helsinki, Finland out-dueled Rublev in their last encounter at the 2023 ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati, 7-6(10), 5-7, 7-6(3).

“Emil is playing unreal this week,” said Rublev, who has won two of three meetings against his friend. “We are good friends and he is a super nice guy.

"All the matches we have played each other were super dramatic, so we will see. I wish him all the best for tomorrow and hopefully we will have a great match that the spectators will enjoy.”


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