Rublev Remains Unbeaten In 2020, Reaches Adelaide Final
Russian to face Harris in final
The 22-year-old saved nine of 10 break points to advance to his sixth ATP Tour championship match (3-2) in just under three hours. Rublev, who failed to convert two match points in the second set, arrived in Adelaide after picking up his third tour-level trophy in Doha without dropping a set.
”This match was unreal,” said Rublev. “I think people enjoyed it and that is why we are playing tennis. I hope we will bring more and more matches like this.”
Rublev is the first player since 2004 to reach back-to-back finals in the opening two weeks of the season. On that occasion, two men accomplished the feat. Dominik Hrbaty won trophies in Adelaide and Auckland, while Carlos Moya lifted the Chennai trophy and finished as runner-up in Sydney.
”I didn’t expect that I was going to do two finals,” said Rublev. “I didn’t expect that I was going to start the season that well, so we will see what is going to happen next. The most important thing is to keep going, to keep working and to keep improving.”
Rublev improves to 2-0 in his ATP Head2Head series against the Canadian. The Doha champion also beat Auger-Aliassime when the pair met for the first time at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag in 2018.
Auger-Aliassime was bidding to join Alexander Zverev as only the second player since 2008 to reach four ATP Tour finals as a teenager (excluding Next Gen ATP Finals). The Canadian reached his first three tour-level championship matches last year, finishing as runner-up in Rio de Janeiro, Lyon and Stuttgart.
”I know that [Harris] is a tough player. He won so many great matches here,” said Rublev. “He is my age. We played juniors in the past, so it is going to be interesting. It is going to be one more battle between two young guys and we will see what is going to happen.”
Last year, Harris made his first tour-level quarter-final and semi-final in Chengdu as a lucky loser. But the World No. 91 has gone one step further in Adelaide, blasting 13 aces and winning 85 per cent of his first-serve points against the man who is one spot ahead of him in the FedEx ATP Rankings.
"I'm so excited to be in the final here in Adelaide. Just ecstatic with the match I played," Harris said. "Looking forward to [the final] tomorrow."
This was the first ATP Tour semi-final between two qualifiers since Roberto Carballes Baena beat Andrej Martin in Quito in 2018. Harris was on the back foot towards the end of the second set, despite recouping a break to force a tie-break, as Paul was taking control of rallies more often and not allowing the South African to dictate play.
But Harris, who defeated fourth seed Pablo Carreno Busta and sixth seed Cristian Garin earlier in the ATP 250 tournament, was undeterred. He lost just two first-serve points in the decider en route to his victory.
Did You Know?
This is only the second tournament since the 2004 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to feature four semi-finalists under the age of 23 (also 2018 Washington, D.C.).