Rublev Ends Korda's Run To Reach Miami SF
Andrey Rublev is two wins from a maiden ATP Masters 1000 trophy after snapping #NextGenATP American Sebastian Korda's inspired run in the Miami Open presented by Itau quarter-finals on Thursday night. In a rain-interrupted first ATP Head2Head meeting between the pair, the fourth seed eked out a 7-5, 7-6(7) victory.
It set a semi-final showdown with 26th seed Hubert Hurkacz. The Pole earlier upset second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas from a set and a break down.
Rublev was particularly impressed with the fight his opponent displayed from 3-5 down in both sets under the lights. It was a match he admitted he was lucky did not go to a deciding set, having trailed 2-4 in the second-set tie-break.
"If we talk about the second set, I also could win easier, but it happens, this is tennis," Rublev said. "Maybe next match I will lose second set and lose the third. I mean, today I managed to win and I'm happy. Sebastian is a really great player, he's really talented. He has big shots and he feels confident and he goes for them. Most of them he's making.
"So in the end, that's why he's great. He has a big serve, really great at the net, he's smart and he plays aggressive. He tries to take the lead and go for the shots. That's why he beat so many great players."
Beyond the usual advice to come from a father, Petr Korda, who was a former World No. 2, Korda may have gained further insight, given his dad used to work with Russian. Rublev, too, knew what to expect.
"I know really well his father because he was helping me a bit, especially when I was maybe 16," Rublev said. "When I was in Bradenton IMG he was helping me, giving me advice, hitting with me. I'm really grateful to him for this. I saw Sebastian even when he was even smaller, maybe 13. I don't know if he remembers.
"His father is really smart. He knows really well about tennis, he teach him really well. You can see that he has really great technique. He has really easy shots, easy movement."
Rublev had never passed the quarter-finals of an ATP Masters 1000 event but after taking the opening set against the 20-year-old the omens were good. The Russian had won 73 of his past 75 matches after taking the opening set.
Korda had this week posted his first Top 20 win over Fabio Fognini and fist Top 10 victory against Diego Schwartzman and proved a handful for the fourth seeds under the lights. Rublev served for the match at 5-3 in the second set only to be broken to love. Two match points were saved but a second double fault of the match from Korda presented a third opportunity and Rublev made no mistake of it, sealing his passage on his fifth ace.
He will need to land his first win over Hurkacz having fallen to the Pole in their only prior ATP Head2Head meeting. A berth in a maiden ATP Masters 1000 final beckons for both.
"I know how tough tough Hurkacz is, for example, he beat me last year," Rublev said. "It's more about that maybe I feel extra pressure, because I'm the one left [from the] Top 10 and looks like I'm high ranking and I feel more pressure.
"But I lost to Hurkacz, I lost to Roberto [Bautista Agut] 6-3, 6-3 just two weeks ago. Jannik [Sinner], who is beating already many players, and I think he [has beaten] Top 10 players also... So in the end, everyone can win now."