The highest ranked player in the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, arrived in the final after crushing his fellow 20-year-old opponent with the power that has seen him climb to 37 on the main tour.
Andrey Rublev, who started the week tentatively at the Fiera Milano auditorium, is ending it in storming fashion as he dispatched Borna Coric 4-1 4-3(6) 4-1 in just over the hour.
The first match here, I wasn’t playing that aggressive. I didn’t play that good. I was missing a lot. I hope tomorrow I can show a better game. Andrey Rublev
There he will meet the player who has taken to the event from the start, the unbeaten Hyeon Chung of South Korea, world ranked 50, thanks to his patience and focus as he repulsed a strong challenge from another Russian, ranked 65, Daniil Medvedev, 4-1 4-1 3-4(4) 1-4 4-0.
As the scoreline indicates, Chung was in complete control in the opening two sets, but some serious coaching (via headphones at the end of the second) finally sparked him into action as he raised his game to make a match of it.
But yet again it was Chung who kept his cool and when it came to the decider, he ran away with the match.
“I had to stay calm,” Chung said after his win. “I was just trying to stay calm and he was playing good, so I had to play the same as I did in the first and second set.”
Looking ahead to the final, he added: “I need a rest because it’s already midnight, so I have to do my recovery first. We know how to play each other”
He will certainly have to find his A game to stem the increasing confidence of Rublev who frustrated his opponent throughout the match, never allowing Coric to settle. Twice the Croat smashed his racket as he failed to find any answers.
During one of his exchanges with his coach he admitted: “I don’t know what to do any more,”
Rublev, who came into the tournament on the back of three straight defeats, said it was his best performance so far and hopes to reverse his crushing round-robin loss to Chung.
“We’ll see if I can change something” he told reporters. “The first match here, I wasn’t playing that aggressive. I didn’t play that good. I was missing a lot.
“I hope tomorrow I can show a better game.”