Rotterdam | Rublev opens strongly

The second seed got his Rotterdam campaign under way with a reasonably comfortable straight set victory over a qualifier on the second day of play at the ABN AMRO Open, an ATP 500 level event.

I was a bit more tight and nervous, but in the second set I started to feel better and in the end I was able to win in straight sets Andrey Rublev

Andrey Rublev, a former Rotterdam champion (2021), defeated Belgium’s Zizou Bergs 7-5 6-3 and admitted he hadn’t had as much practice time as he would have liked.

Even so he was in a positive mood, striking the ball well off the baseline and taking advantage of the chances which came his way, all behind some strong serving during the 82-minute opener.

“It was not easy,” Rublev said. “It was my first match here and I only had one day to practise, so I didn’t really feel comfortable yet. I was a bit more tight and nervous, but in the second set I started to feel better and in the end I was able to win in straight sets.”

He will face Felix Auger Aliassime in round two, who followed him as Rotterdam champion in 2022, a player he holds a 3-1 win-loss record over and is currently off-form.

In his opener, the Canadian, took out the American qualifier Maxime Cressy 7-6(3) 7-6(8) but has still to find the form and consistency which took him into the top ten a few years back.

In the meantime, Rublev holds a 9-1 win-loss record for the season which includes pocketing the Hong Kong title last month but lost out to Jannik Sinner in the quarters of the Australian Open, and he no doubt would like to avenge that setback this week. The Italian, who won his first major at Melbourne, is the top seed for the week but has still to open his own campaign.

Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany also progressed by beating Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 4-6 7-6(5) 7-6(4). The big-serving 33-year-old struck16 aces during the two hours and 28-minutes and awaits his next opponent, either Frenchman Ugo Humbert or Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori.

Fourth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz saved three match points in a tense third-set tie-break to hold off Czech Jiri Lehecka 6-3 6-7(9) 7-6(9), firing down 18 aces during the two hour and 17-minutes contest.

The Pole let slip three match points in the second-set tie-break and later saved three match points himself in the third-set tie-break before closing out the match in the deciding ‘breaker on his sixth match point.

Fifth seed Alex De Minaur saw off Sebastian Korda in straight sets 6-4 6-3 to reach the last 16.

The world No. 11, fresh off a run to the fourth round at the Australian Open, will face qualifier David Goffin after the experienced Belgian beat wild card Dino Prizmic 6-4 6-7(12) 6-1.

It was a good day for the Kazakhstani players as Alexander Bublik and Alexander Shevchenko progressed with wins over Croat Borna Coric and China’s Zhizhen Zhang respectively.

The final five first round matches will be played on Wednesday



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