Rublev Extends Strong Hamburg Record
The second seed hit through the Lithuanian with his precise and powerful groundstrokes, while he stepped up his intensity in the key moments to shrug off a second-set Berankis comeback and advance after 73 minutes.
Rublev now holds a 10-2 record at the ATP 500 clay-court event, having advanced to the final in 2019, before he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas to lift the trophy in his previous appearance in 2020.
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“I am happy with my performance. Ricardas is a really tough player. He hits the ball really hard and plays fast, so I had to bring intensity from the first game,” Rublev said in his on-court interview. “I am really happy with how I was serving today and I hit some great shots from the baseline.
“The game he broke me in the second set he played really well. He returned really aggressively and I don’t think I made one first serve. But then I kept [my] focus and broke him straight away again.”
With his 32nd tour-level win of the year, the 24-year-old has improved to 3-0 in his ATP Head2Head series against Berankis and will next face Bastad champion Francisco Cerundolo.
Rublev is aiming to win his fourth tour-level title of the season this week in northern Germany. The World No. 8 clinched crowns in Marseille, Dubai and Belgrade earlier this year and arrives in Hamburg off the back of a run to the semi-finals on clay in Bastad.
Earlier, Croatian Borna Coric eliminated Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 6-3, 6-4 to earn consecutive tour-levels wins for the first time since March 2021. The 25-year-old, who overcame Laslo Djere in the first round will next play Alex Molcan. The Slovakian upset 2021 champion Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(5) to advance to his fourth tour-level quarter-final of the season.
“I am very happy. I played a great match yesterday and today I was performing well,” Coric said in his on-court interview. "I was serving great and my forehand was working well, so I am very pleased to be here in the quarters.”
Coric missed the majority of last year due to a shoulder injury, but has shown signs of promise recently, winning an ATP Challenger Tour title in Parma last month.
“I need to be able to play each week at the level I played at today,” Coric added after reaching his first tour-level quarter-final since March 2021. “I haven’t been able to do that for the past 16 months and it has been very tough. But the last two months I have been playing better. I also feel much better on court.”
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina overcame Slovakian qualifier Jozef Kovalik 6-2, 6-2 to improve to 11-7 on clay in 2022. The Spaniard, who advanced to his maiden ATP Masters 1000 final in Monte Carlo in April, will next take on good friend and #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti, a 6-4, 7-5 winner against World No. 42 Emil Ruusuvuori.
It will be the pair's first ATP Head2Head meeting, though they do not lack in familiarity.
"We are really close friends, especially in the last period," Musetti said following his victory. "We are always practising together and passing time together. It's really nice to play against him. Today we were joking about meeting in the quarter-finals. We both did it and we're going to enjoy it for sure."
Musetti sealed the win on his seventh match point, closing out an eventful second set that featured seven breaks of serve. Ruusuvuori stopped the Italian from serving out the match in his first attempt at 5-4, but lost the next two games as Musetti advanced to his fourth tour-level quarter-final of the 2022 season.