Mannarino Saves 1 MP, Upsets Rublev In Moscow

Rublev beat Mannarino in straight sets in the 2019 Moscow final

In a repeat of the 2019 VTB Kremlin Cup final, Frenchman Adrian Mannarino avenged his defeat to reigning champion Andrey Rublev, saving one match point, edging past the Russian 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals in Moscow.

In a strong performance, Mannarino, who fired nine aces, rallied from a set down and saved one match point on serve at 5-6 30/40 as Rublev hit a backhand up the line and into the net. The 33-year-old then raised his level in the third set, not facing a break point on serve to upset Rubelv after two hours and 30 minutes.

“Two years later, it is completely different,” Mannarino said in his on-court interview. “We have both improved. Andrey has improved a lot more than me. Even if a player is better than you, anything can happen. I got a little bit lucky today and I am really happy with my performance.”

With his victory over World No. 6 Rublev, it is the seventh time Mannarino has defeated a Top 10 player in his career. The 33-year-old has now levelled his ATP Head2Head series with the Russian at 1-1.

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Mannarino, who lost to Rublev in straight sets in the 2019 final, has an impressive record at the ATP 250 event, having also reached the championship match in 2018 and the semi-finals in 2017. It is the third tour-level quater-final of the season for Mannarino, after he advanced to the last eight in Singapore and the semi-finals in Mallorca.

“The crowd was cheering for Andrey but that is normal,” Mannarino said. “I was happy to play with such a nice atmosphere. We have been playing for a long time without fans, so it is nice to enjoy a stadium with crowds now.”

The World No. 51 will next face Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis after the 31-year-old defeated World No. 68 Federico Coria 6-2, 6-1 in 70 minutes.

Rublev captured his eighth tour-level trophy in Rotterdam and advanced to ATP Masters 1000 finals in Monte-Carlo and Cincinnati. The 24-year-old is fifth (4,165 points) in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin and is aiming to qualify for the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at the Pala Alpitour in Turin from 14-21 November.

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