Andrey Rublev and Borna Coric ousted Denis Shapovalov and Milos Raonic in their respective semi-finals at the St Petersburg Open thereby preventing what would have been an all-Canadian final at an ATP 500 hardcourt event.
One of the two points decided the match and today it was for me Andrey Rublev
Both Canadians got off to excellent starts. Shapovalov, seeded second, then lost 4-6 6-3 6-4 to third seed Andrey Rublev of Russia while Raonic, the sixth seed and 2015 St Pete champion, stumbled out 1-6 6-1 6-4 to seventh seed Borna Coric of Croatia.
Shapovalov’s serve proved the weak link in his game as it lost its accuracy and potency with only just over half of his first serves landing and committing eight double faults while failing to convert six break point opportunities.
Rublev was marginally better on serve, winning 70 per cent of service points but the Russian committed just two double faults and made good on two of his five break point chances.
In contrast the 22-year-old Rublev who hails from Moscow, improved his game as the match progressed to record his second win of the week by recovering from a set down.
The win also means he is now on the brink of qualifying for the ATP Tour Finals at the O2 in London next month.
Rublev is aiming to win his fourth title of the year after Doha, Adelaide and Hamburg and his second trophy on Russian soil after collecting the Moscow Kremlin Cup in 2019.
“The match was unreal, in my opinion. The level was high from both sides. Both of us deserved to win. Shapovalov was leading and he had a break point in the second set, so everything could have been in two sets for him. One of the two points decided the match and today it was for me”, said Rublev pointedly after his victory.
In the other semi-final Coric took just under two hours to dispatch Raonic, recovering from a poor opening set by breaking the big serving Canadian twice in the second.
Raonic came back at him in the decider but failed to convert one of the three break points he held in the second game allowing Coric to make a breakthrough in the fifth game to gain a 3-2 lead; a lead he was to hold to close out the match and progress into the final.