Rublev Dispatches Of Wawrinka, Now For Federer
The 21-year-old Rublev saved all five break points against World No. 23 Stan Wawrinka on Wednesday to advance 6-4, 6-4 and reach the third round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. It's the third time Rublev has made the third round at an ATP Masters 1000 event (Indian Wells, Miami) this year and comes on the heels of his best tournament of the season, the Hamburg European Open last month.
"I'm just trying to work every day, trying to do my best every day," Rublev said.
There, Rublev gained his first Top 5 win (1-6) against No. 4 Dominic Thiem, made his first ATP Tour final since January 2018 (Doha, l. to Monfils) and his first ATP 500 final. The Russian fell to Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in the final but avenged that loss in his Cincinnati opener before breezing past Wawrinka, who landed only 48 per cent of his first serves.
Rublev has long been one to watch on the ATP Tour. He reached the final of 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals (l. to Chung) and made the semi-finals in Milan in 2018. But a lower back stress fracture forced him to miss three months last season and a wrist injury kept him out of Roland Garros and the start of the grass-court season this year.
Rublev will next meet seven-time Cincy champion Roger Federer in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. Federer beat Juan Ignacio Londero 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday night. The Swiss is playing in his first tournament since falling to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final on 14 July.
"I always wanted to meet him," Rublev said of playing Federer. "Finally, we meet and we'll see tomorrow. I will do my best. I will fight until the end."
Watch Rublev's Off-season Training