ATP 500 King Rublev Reigns In Rotterdam
Andrey Rublev extended his phenomenal winning run at ATP 500 events to 20 matches on Sunday when he defeated Marton Fucsovics 7-6(4), 6-4 to win the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. The World No. 8 also stretched his winning streak in ATP Tour championship matches to seven victories.
Rublev saved all four break points he faced to capture his fourth straight title at ATP 500-level after one hour and 50 minutes. Prior to his title run in Rotterdam, the fourth seed also claimed titles in his final three ATP 500 events of 2020 in Hamburg, St. Petersburg and Vienna.
“I feel happy. It has been a really great week," said Rublev. "It has been a great past year and a half. We will see if I can keep going, if I can keep this level of competing [and] being a Top 10 [player].”
Since 2009, only Roger Federer (28) and Andy Murray (21) have compiled longer winning streaks at the level. Rublev's last defeat at an ATP 500 event came against Daniel Evans at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February 2020.
“I was not even thinking [about the streak] until [the media] were starting to put on the internet 16 matches, 17 matches, 18 matches,” said Rublev. “Of course, it is a great number, but I was not even thinking about it… It is a great feeling to know that I did something that not many players did.”
Most Consecutive ATP 500 Match Wins (since 2009)
Rublev’s 13th win in 14 matches this year marks another milestone moment in an impressive start to 2021. Last month, the 23-year-old won all four singles matches he played to steer Russia to the ATP Cup title and he also reached the Australian Open quarter-finals.
Since the 2019 VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Rublev has won each of the seven championship matches he has contested. Across those victories, the eight-time ATP Tour champion has claimed 14 of the 15 sets he has contested.
Rublev's Past Seven ATP Tour Finals
|2021 Rotterdam||d. Fucsovics 7-6(4), 6-4|
|2020 Vienna||d. Sonego 6-4, 6-4|
|2020 St. Petersburg||d. Coric 7-6(5), 6-4|
|2020 Hamburg||d. Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 7-5|
|2020 Adelaide||d. Harris 6-3, 6-0|
|2020 Doha||d. Moutet 6-2, 7-6(3)|
|2019 Moscow||d. Mannarino 6-4, 6-0|
Fuscovics was aiming to become only the second qualifier to lift the Rotterdam trophy (Escude, 2001). The 29-year-old dropped just one set from six matches en route to his third ATP Tour final (1-2).
“It was a very positive week for me. I played unbelievable,” Fucsovics said during the trophy ceremony. “I came from qualifying. I played a lot of matches… I improved my game, so that is most important for me.”
With both players attempting to dictate rallies with their powerful forehands, Fucsovics struck three more winners than Rublev on that side in the first set (10-7). But, under the pressure of a first-set tie-break, Rublev struck backhand winners and capitalised on two forehand errors from the Hungarian to take the opener in 64 minutes.
“It was a tough match, especially in the first set. [It] was really mental," said Rublev. "It was so, so close. Both of us had a lot of chances. [In the] first game, he had a lot of chances then, straight away, I had a lot of chances. We were so close [throughout] all the set. Even in the tie-break, it was so close until 4/3.”
One of the keys to Rublev’s semi-final victory against Stefanos Tsitsipas was his ability to successfully transition to the net behind his forehand. In the opening game of the second set against Fucsovics, the Russian repeated that tactic to earn the only break of the final.
Rublev maintained his break advantage to serve for the title at 5-4. The 2020 Nitto ATP Finals qualifier clinched the trophy on his second match point with a cross-court forehand winner.