Rublev Reaches First Grass-Court Final In Halle
Andrey Rublev booked a place in his first ATP Tour grass-court final on Saturday at the NOVENTI OPEN. The fourth-seeded Russian struck 24 winners past qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia in a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory over one hour and 51 minutes at the OWL Arena in Halle.
“It’s my first final on grass and in Halle,” said Rublev. “I think I can play on every surface and I will try my best again tomorrow. I had good opportunities to break him (Basilashvili) in the second set, some quite easy forehands and I stressed a little showing my emotions. I then came back and stayed calm, until the last game. But I won.”
Rublev will now attempt to improve his 4-1 record in ATP 500-level final when he meets Ugo Humbert of France in the championship match on Sunday. The Russian beat Humbert, who overcame #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5) later on Saturday, in their only meeting at the 2020 St. Petersburg Open.
On Monday, the 23-year-old will rise to third position in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held from 14-21 November at the Pala Alpitour, behind only Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Rublev has a 33-9 match record on the season.
Rublev played superbly in the first set, racing out to a 5-0 advantage after just 19 minutes. Basilashvili, who required on-court treatment, responded in the second set, capitalising on a forehand mis-hit from Rublev to break at 3-2. Rublev, becoming increasingly frustrated by his lack of forehand potency against the World No. 30, needed to bide his time in the decider.
Once Basilashvili mis-timed a backhand to be broken in the sixth game, it was all Rublev. Basilashvili recovered from 0/40 at 3-5, but could not deny Rublev in the next game.
Rublev has a 29-2 match record at ATP 500 tournaments since the ATP Tour resumed from the COVID-19 suspension in August 2020. He has won his past four 500-level finals – three in 2020 at the Hamburg European Open (d. Tsitsipas), the St. Petersburg Open (d. Coric) and the Erste Bank Open in Vienna (d. Sonego), plus one in 2021 at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. Fucsovics).