© Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell

Third seed Andrey Rublev beats lucky loser Federico Gaio on Wednesday in Barcelona.

Rublev 'Feels Angry', But Finds A Way To Win In Barcelona

Felix battles back to beat fellow #NextGenATP Musetti

Andrey Rublev didn’t have things all his own way on Wednesday, but opened his Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell campaign with a win. The third-seeded Russian was often left frustrated by Italy lucky loser Federico Gaio’s game, and also the string tension in his racquets, during a 6-4, 6-3 victory over 84 minutes.

“It was more mental today,” said World No. 7 Rublev. “It was the way I was behaving after what I was trying to do in Monte-Carlo. I got the win, which is the most important thing, but I do feel angry. When you’re not thinking, you’re always trying to find excuses, but I need to control my emotions.”

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Rublev will next play Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who defeated Adrian Mannarino of France 6-4, 6-4 in 82 minutes. Rublev leads Ramos-Vinolas 2-1 in their ATP Head2Head series, but the Barcelona third-round clash will be their first meeting on clay.

Rublev, who reached his first ATP Masters 1000 last week at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, raised his level when it counted and improved to an ATP Tour-leading 25-5 match record on the season. He captured his eighth trophy last month at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. Fucsovics).

Rublev was below his best in the 41-minute first set, saving two break points at 4-4 before putting his foot down to break after Gaio struck a forehand wide. They exchanged service breaks early in the second set, before 23-year-old Rublev won the final three games – including three winners in a love hold at the end.

Elsewhere, in the first of what could be a great ATP2Head rivalry in the future, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime battled back to beat fellow #NextGenATP star Lorenzo Musetti of Italy 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 in two hours and five minutes.

Tenth seed Auger-Aliassime, who is being coached by Rafael Nadal’s uncle, Toni Nadal, will now face seventh-seeded compatriot Denis Shapovalov in the third round.

“I had chances in the second set to break him, but I didn’t convert those chances,” said Musetti. “I then started to feel sore in the lower back and it got worse and worse. I couldn’t play, but I don’t like to retire. When I served, I couldn’t turn my shoulder and it was painful. I am a little bit disappointed and sad. I played a good first set and now I will rest.”

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