Rublev Recovers After Blip, Reaches Third Round In Paris
Rublev to face former World No. 5 Anderson
The 22-year-old, who is appearing at the clay-court major for the second time (also 2017), overcame a slow start and a third-set blip to defeat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain 7-5, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 in two hours and 11 minutes.
Rublev, a titlist this year at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open (d. Moutet), the Adelaide International (d. Harris) and at last week’s Hamburg European Open (d. Tsitsipas), will next face South African Kevin Anderson, who hit 18 aces among 58 winners to knock out No. 22 seed Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 over three hours and nine minutes.
Such is the confidence of Rublev right now, that even when he fell 2-4 behind in the first set on Court Simonne-Mathieu, the in-form Russian didn’t panic. He won 12 of the next 14 games as Davidovich Fokina’s challenge appeared to evaporate.
Once Rublev failed to convert two break points at 1-1 in the third set, Davidovich Fokina became more aggressive, was quicker on his feet and became a different proposition. Out of nowhere, the Spaniard broke for a 3-1 advantage after Rublev struck a backhand wide. The pair’s first ATP Head2Head meeting sparked into life.
Rublev became irritable as Davidovich Fokina clinched the 35-minute third set and broke, courtesy of a backhand error, in the first game of the fourth set. But the World No. 12 immediately broke back by winning a 21-stroke rally for 1-1 and didn’t look back in the 21-minute set. Rublev hit three aces in the final game.
Elsewhere, Marton Fucsovics edged past Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(2), 6-3, 7-5 in three hours and two minutes for a third-round clash against Thiago Monteiro, who was a 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-1 victor over Marcos Giron in just over two hours.