Hamburg | Ruud and Rublev set to meet again

Last week the top two seeds met in the final of the Swedish Open in Bastaad with Rublev taking the title in two very contrasting sets against Casper Ruud thereby setting the scene for this week where the two are again scheduled, as the top seeds, to meet in the championship round for the European Open title in Hamburg.

I started well but the second set was not great, but I fought well in the last and I'm very happy to be through Casper Ruud

The pair opened their campaigns on Wednesday and both had to battle through their opening round where they faced strong opposition which they eventually overcame with Rublev, the second seed, finding his match more trickier than his rival.

Top seed Ruud eventually, after nearly two hours, saw off a determined Argentinian, Sebastian Baez 6-3 1-6 6-3 in a rollercoaster encounter to advance into the second round where he will face Christian Garin, a qualifier from Chile after he had dispatched Hugo Dellien of Bolivia 6-7(3) 6-1 6-3.

“Really tough,” Ruud said afterwards. “I think Sebastian is a great fighter, great player. He’s taken big steps the last year, so he’ll always be a tough challenge no matter where you play him.
“It takes a little time to adjust to new conditions, new balls, new court.”

Due to rain, the match had to be played under cover, which the Norwegian claimed “made a lot of difference”.

“It makes it a lot more humid, the ball is heavier and stuff, so it took a little while to adjust,” he added.

“I started well but the second set was not great, but I fought well in the last and I’m very happy to be through.”

In contrast the Russian second seed, had to save three match points before edging past Spain’s Bernabe Zapata Miralles 5-7 6-1 7-6(7) after nearly three hours of play.

Rublev was facing defeat when he was 4-6 down in the third-set tie-break but saved his third match point at 6-7 to prevail after a marathon two hours and 53-minutes.

“The feeling was that I was playing well, and it was under control, but somehow I lost the first set and was frustrated,” Rublev admitted.

“I came back and recovered mentally and won a really good second set. The third set was tough. I started to get tired and nervous, because the score is going to the tie-break and I didn’t have many chances to break him.

“The feeling was that he deserved to win. He was fighting like crazy from tough scores. When I went 0-3, I started to stress a lot. But then I played two amazing rallies and told myself to keep fighting, keep fighting… It is amazing I was able to win.”

The Russian will now play Daniel Altmaier in the second round after the German took out the veteran Frenchman Richard Gasquet 7-5 6-4.

Meanwhile Alexander Zverev, the fourth seed from Germany, overcame his compatriot Maximilian Marterer 6-3 7-5 to set up a meeting with Frenchman Luca Van Assche, who required 3-hours and 12-minutes to reach the last eight against Spain’s Alexandre Davidovich-Fokina 3-6 7-6(5) 6-4.

“To be honest, I think I played a very good match, and he pushed me to the very end especially in the second set. I’m happy with my tennis,” said Zverev.

Andrey Rublev saves match points to stay alive in Hamburg

(Photo by Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images for MatchMaker)



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