© Andrew Eichenholz/ATP Tour

Andrey Rublev defeats Spaniard Carlos Taberner on Saturday in Indian Wells.

From Lucky Loser To Fourth Seed, Rublev Advances In Indian Wells

Russian next faces Paul

The last time Andrey Rublev competed in Indian Wells, two years ago, he lost in the final round of qualifying before entering the draw as a lucky loser. Now the Russian is the fourth seed, and on Saturday evening he advanced to the third round of the BNP Paribas Open.

Rublev battled past Spaniard Carlos Taberner 6-3, 6-4 in the final men's match of the evening to set a third-round match against American Tommy Paul.

"I feel the same [as two years ago]. Of course, I hope I improved a lot and obviously if I'm [No.] 5 in the world, I should [have] improved," Rublev said in his on-court interview. "Hopefully I improved all my skills, all my shots, plus hopefully I'm better physically, mental part and that's why I hope I'm a better player."

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It was not an easy match for Rublev, who let slip a break advantage in the second set. But he took advantage of a double fault from World No. 116 Taberner to get back on track and move through without needing to play a deciding set.

Rublev said it took time for him to get used to the conditions, which were slower than they are during the day in the California desert.

"It's super tough to hit a winner and it's a huge difference compared to when you practise even in the afternoon at 4 p.m. or 3 p.m.," Rublev said. "But it's part of our sport. Sometimes you play late matches and this can happen. The way I played today, I really enjoyed and we'll see what's going to happen next."

Rublev's next opponent, Paul, ousted 28th seed Dusan Lajovic 6-2, 6-3. The Russian leads the pair's ATP Head2Head Series, but their past two meetings — both of which came on clay — went to a deciding set.

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