Rublev Outslugs Brave Schwartzman In San Diego
Top seed Andrey Rublev was at his punishing best Friday, overpowering Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 7-5 to advance to the semi-finals of the San Diego Open. Rublev loaded up on his penetrating forehand and feasted on the second serve of the Argentine, who fought back bravely late in the match before a shocking collapse in the final game.
After reclaiming a break of serve midway through the second set, Schwartzman looked destined to force a tie-break when serving at 5-6, 40/0. But the World No. 15 lost five consecutive points to fall to the Russian for the second time in two weeks.
“The match against him at the Laver cup helped me a lot because we hadn’t played for a really, really long time and I didn’t know what he was doing on court,” Rublev said. “The match at Laver Cup gave me confidence and also let me know how I needed to play today.”
Although Schwartzman went blow-for-blow with Rublev in the second set, it was the Russian’s dominance in second-serve battles that made the difference. The eight-time ATP Tour champion won the first 19 of 22 points played on Schwartzman’s second serve, ending the match winning 24 of 31 (67 per cent).
“The second set was very tough and enjoyable for the spectators to watch,” Rublev said. “Every game was really tough with amazing points and the set could have gone either way.”
Boasting a career-high FedEx ATP Ranking of No. 5 this week, Rublev is chasing his first trophy since winning the ATP 500 title in Rotterdam in February. Appearing in his eighth semi-final of the year, he is also seeking points this week to strengthen his already solid claim to one of five remaining singles berths to the Nitto ATP Finals, to be played in Turin 14-21 November.
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