Fucsovics Stuns Rublev To Reach First Grand Slam QF
After Marton Fucsovics lost against Andrey Rublev for the second time this year in Dubai, the Hungarian told his opponent, "I hope I don't play you anymore this year!” It’s fitting that on Monday, the 29-year-old earned the biggest win of his career against the Russian.
Fucsovics rallied past Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 after two hours and 41 minutes to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals. The unseeded righty is the first Hungarian to make the last eight at The Championships since Jozsef Asboth in 1948.
"From the beginning, I had a very good feeling on the court," Fucsovics said. "I was serving well. I was moving very well. I hit the ball very well. I hit a lot of winners, so I was very confident."
But that is not all the history Fucsovics made. In his 17th major main draw, he is into his first quarter-final, and the World No. 48 is the first man from his country to make the last eight at a Slam since Balazs Taroczy at Roland Garros in 1981.
It is poetic justice that the victory came against a player who has tortured him seemingly incessantly over the past nine months. Starting at Roland Garros last year, Rublev won four consecutive matches against Fucsovics. Most of those matches were tighter than their scoreline indicated, but the Russian strung together nine consecutive sets in their rivalry.
"I was not thinking about the previous matches. This one was a different match," Fucsovics said. "We played on grass. I really like the surface. I think my game fits the surface very well. I think Andrey's game is not the best on grass, so I just was focusing on the next points. I took my chances. I didn't give up. Then that was the key."
That made what Fucsovics did on No. 2 Court at SW19 even more impressive. Rublev took control of the match and appeared primed to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time. But the Hungarian never let slip his belief, and he won nine consecutive games from the start of the third set to turn the match around and surge to a 3-0 lead in the decider.
"In the second and third sets, I had some unlucky service games where Andrey made very good returns, but then I took a toilet break and I calmed down a little bit," Fucsovics said. "When I stepped on the court again, I was very relaxed. I started to serve unbelievable. Big serves, aces. Then I felt that when I broke him [in the fourth set] that I had a good chance to turn this around."
Whereas Rublev has typically been the more consistent player in their matches and found ways to control rallies without overplaying, it was Fucsovics who took that role on Manic Monday. The 2018 Geneva champion remained calm throughout, and frequented the net to put pressure on the Russian. The 29-year-old won 81 per cent (22/27) of his net points.
But given these rivals’ history, it was no surprise that the ending was not straightforward. After losing nine straight games, Rublev still managed to get back on serve in the deciding set when his opponent double-faulted. But he could not fully seize the momentum, giving the service break right back with an unforced error on a forehand from the middle of the court. All the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals competitor was able to do was put his left hand on his hip in disbelief.
The fifth seed got another crack at breaking back in the match's final game, when Fucsovics double-faulted to give him another break point. But after a long, tense rally, the Hungarian crushed a courageous inside-in forehand winner, and he closed out his victory two points later.
Fucsovics will next play World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has won their two previous ATP Head2Head meetings. They most recently clashed in Doha two years ago.
Did You Know?
Fucsovics entered this tournament with a 5-11 tour-level record on grass. However, he won the Wimbledon boys' singles event in 2011.