Rublev Downs Murray, Reaches Third Rotterdam QF
The Russian fired 24 winners and committed just 12 unforced errors to win regular baseline battles with the former World No. 1. Rublev’s victory extends his consistent record at this event in recent years. The World No. 8 also reached the quarter-finals at the ATP 500 in 2018 and 2020.
“It was a really tough match,” said Rublev. “We had a lot of rallies. With Andy I cannot rush, I cannot play my usual style of game where I am hitting every ball. I need to slow down, I need to mix [my shots and] wait for the right ball because Andy is really great at defence. He makes you play tough balls that are not easy to attack.”
Rublev has won 17 straight matches at ATP 500 events. The 23-year-old is attempting to capture his fourth straight title at ATP 500-level. Rublev claimed the trophy in each of his final three ATP 500 appearances of 2020 (Hamburg, St. Petersburg and Vienna).
The Russian, who owns a 10-1 record this year, will face David Goffin or Jeremy Chardy for a place in the semi-finals. Rublev’s only loss so far this season came against countryman Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open quarter-finals.
In a tight opening set, Rublev made the crucial move at 5-5. The fourth seed rushed Murray with deep forehand returns and moved up the court well to pressure his opponent. Murray committed two double faults to hand Rublev the first break of the match. Rublev saved two break points as he served for the set and he dictated rallies with his forehand to clinch the opener in just over an hour.
Rublev continued to push Murray into defensive positions and used his forehand to end rallies. The seven-time ATP Tour titlist closed the match with his 14th forehand winner of the match.
“The first set was really good. The level was really great,” said Rublev. “He had a couple of chances, a couple of break points. This is tennis. I was a bit lucky in the first set and, as soon as I won the first set, I started to feel more confident. I started to feel better. Andy went down a bit mentally, I started to play even better and he slowed down a bit.”
Karen Khachanov saved all three break points he faced to end Wednesday play with a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Cameron Norrie. The World No. 21, who reached the Great Ocean Road Open semi-finals last month, needed just 75 minutes to improve to 7-2 this year. Khachanov will face second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas or Hubert Hurkacz for a place in the semi-finals.
Earlier in the day, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina upset countryman Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 7-6(3). The 21-year-old converted four of his eight break points to eliminate the fifth seed in 84 minutes and book a second-round clash against Marton Fucsovics.