Rublev Rallies Past Lehecka In Belgrade
Another day, another big test for one of the top seeds at the Serbia Open.
Less than 24 hours after Novak Djokovic was pushed to the brink in Belgrade, second seed Andrey Rublev rallied past #NextGenATP Czech Jiri Lehecka 4-6, 7-6(1), 6-2 after two hours and seven minutes to reach the quarter-finals. He will next play Japan's Taro Daniel.
“It’s a bit tough conditions here to play and it was my first match, plus the guy who I played, he played amazing. He’s a young guy and he played through qualies, through the first round, so he got used to the conditions and he started really well,” Rublev said during his on-court interview. “I was a bit tight and the first match is not easy. But then, with time I started to adapt and I started to play better and better and in the end I finished the match on a good level.”
Rublev faced one break point in each of the second and third sets, but was not in quite the same level of difficulty as Djokovic was on Wednesday against Laslo Djere. The 24-year-old raced out to a quick start in the second-set tie-break and never looked back.
“It’s not easy because everyone is playing at a good level and you can see today I was really close to losing my first match. It’s not easy now because the guys, they improve. They play better and better,” Rublev said. “I hope I’m going to do my best tomorrow, I hope I will show a great match and we’ll see what’s going to happen.”
His next opponent, Daniel, clawed past #NextGenATP Dane Holger Rune 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-3 in two hours and 39 minutes behind four service breaks. The qualifier will try to make his first ATP Tour semi-final since the same event last year.
In other second-round matches, sixth seed Fabio Fognini set a quarter-final clash against German Oscar Otte. Fognini defeated Slovenian Aljaz Bedene 6-2, 6-3 and Otte upset fourth seed Aslan Karatsev 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-3.
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Did You Know?
Rublev, who has already won hard-court titles this season in Marseille and Dubai, is pursuing his first clay-court trophy since Hamburg in 2020.