Rublev Reaches Historic QF In Melbourne, Meets Medvedev Next
Rublev needed an hour and 17 minutes to fire 22 winners and take a 6-2, 7-6(3) lead against the Norwegian. No. 24-seeded Ruud pushed Rublev into a second-set tie-break, but was unable to continue after dropping the second set.
He will face compatriot and No. 4 seed Daniil Medvedev in a blockbuster battle between Russia’s top two players. Rublev and Medvedev are both undefeated since the start of the season after steering Russia to its first ATP Cup title. Now, Rublev will be looking to improve his 0-3 ATP Head2Head record in hopes of reaching his first Grand Slam semi-final.
“At least one of us [Russian players] will be in the semis,” Rublev said in his post-match interview. “At least that’s the good news. But it’s going to be a tough match. I mean, last time he beat me in the quarters in the US Open. Now we’re again in quarters in the Australian Open. So we’ll see what’s going to happen. I hope we can show a great fight and great level.”
The No. 7-seeded Rublev was in control in the opening set against Ruud, who was unable to create a break chance under the Russian’s heavy firepower. Rublev converted two of his six break chances and put the pressure firmly on the Norwegian as he kept his opponent on the run.
Ruud needed a medical time out in the second set as he struggled with an abdominal injury. After trailing by a break, Ruud raised his level and overpowered Rublev for four games to take the lead at 5-3. The pair stayed deadlocked into the tie-break, where Rublev finally put some distance between them with a series of winners. After Rublev claimed the tie-break, Ruud retired to send Rublev into his fourth Grand Slam quarter-final.
Rublev’s victory also marked a historic moment for Russian tennis as he joined World No. 4 Medvedev and qualifier Aslan Karatsev in the last eight. It is the first time in the Open Era that three Russian men have reached the quarter-finals in the same Grand Slam.