Rublev Battles Past Kwon at Roland Garros
Seventh seed clears opening hurdle on Tuesday
Andrey Rublev erased the memories of his opening-round defeat last year at Roland Garros, rallying from a set down on Tuesday to dispatch Soonwoo Kwon 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in an entertaining first-round clash.
”I knew that he can hit the ball hard and play really consistently. The first set, he was playing on a really high level,” said Rublev. “I was a bit tight. But little by little, I tried to find a way to play better and better. I finished much better than I started.”
Trailing 4/5 in the first-set tie-break, Kwon quickly grabbed three points in succession to steal the opening set. Although Rublev was frustrated at squandering his opportunity, he regrouped strongly and raised his level for the remainder of the match.
Striking his forehand with authority and increasing his first-serve percentage, Rublev struck 31 winners to 16 errors across the final three sets. The seventh seed broke Kwon five times, including in the final game, to advance in two hours and 56 minutes.
Rublev is seeking his Grand Slam breakthrough this fortnight. He’s reached four major quarter-finals, including at this event in 2020, but lost all of them in straight sets. The 24-year-old has lifted three ATP Tour titles this year in Marseille (d. Auger-Aliassime), Dubai (d. Vesely) and Belgrade (d. Djokovic).