Rublev Crushes 67 Winners To Beat Martinez At The US Open
Andrey Rublev was upset with himself after letting slip the second set against Pedro Martinez. The Russian had three set points in two separate games to take a two-set lead. Instead, he was locked in a battle at one set apiece with the physical Spaniard.
But after leaving the court to change his kit, Rublev returned to Grandstand with a vengeance, defeating Martinez 7-6(2), 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-1 to reach the third round at Flushing Meadows for the fourth time in five years.
Rublev arrived in New York in great form after reaching his second ATP Masters 1000 final at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. He has now won six of his past seven matches and will next play American Frances Tiafoe or Argentine lefty Guido Pella.
The fifth seed is comfortable at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where in 2017 he made the quarter-finals as a 19-year-old, becoming the youngest US Open quarter-finalist since Andy Roddick in 2001. The Moscow-native also made the last eight in New York last year.
Rublev had to make a significant adjustment to his game after playing big-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic in the first round. Martinez is a physical baseliner who makes his opponents work for every point.
Although Rublev lost serve immediately to start the match, he rallied to take the opener. The Russian maintained his level despite a rain delay of about 30 minutes, and positioned himself well to take the second set with his big-hitting game.
But with Martinez serving at 5-6 15/40, it began drizzling, causing play to pause for a few minutes. When the action resumed, the World No. 75 served his way out of trouble and then levelled the match with a sensational backhand passing shot to close the tie-break. Rublev was in disbelief as the crosscourt stroke sailed by him, dropping his racquet in shock.
The favourite quickly regrouped though, making just seven unforced errors across the next two sets. The 2020 Nitto ATP Finals competitor hit 67 winners in the match to triumph after two hours and 52 minutes.