The last of the Miami Masters semi-final slots was filled late Thursday when the fourth seeded Andrey Rublev finally edged past the exciting Sebastian Korda following a rain interrupted quarter-final match on the Grandstand court at the Hard Rock Stadium.
So, in the end, that's why he's great. He has a big serve, really great at the net, he's smart and he plays aggressive. He tries to take the lead and go for the shots. That's why he beat so many great players Andrey Rublev
The Russian was always favourite to make the last four and his 7-5 7-6(7) victory maintains the current excellent form which has seen him win 20 matches this season.
The match itself was a close-run thing with Korda pushing him all the way in a manner which ensures fans will be seeing a lot more of this 20-year-old in years to come.
Rublev was indeed impressed by the youngster’s performance and his fighting spirit as he came back from 3-5 down in both sets, declaring he was lucky to have got through and not been pushed into a deciding third set having trailed himself 2-4 in the second set tie-break.
The pair had not faced each other before so they were wary in the initial stages with Rublev dropping his serve twice to Korda’s three in the 50-minute opening set.
In the second the crunch came in the sixth game when Korda lost his serve with a poor forehand, but he recovered it in the next with some excellent serving as the match edged its way to an inevitable tie-break.
For Korda it was the last chance to keep his hopes alive and he looked to be achieving that when he romped into a 5-3 lead before committing costly errors which brought the Russian back into contention.
Korda saved a match point at 5-6 and another at 6-7 but then spoilt his chances with a double fault allowing Rublev to seal his semi-final place after an hour and 42-minutes.
“If we talk about the second set, I also could win easier, but it happens, this is tennis,” Rublev told ATP.com later.
“Maybe next match I will lose second set and lose the third. I mean, today I managed to win and I’m happy. Sebastian is a really great player, he’s really talented. He has big shots, and he feels confident and he goes for them. Most of them he’s making.
“So, in the end, that’s why he’s great. He has a big serve, really great at the net, he’s smart and he plays aggressive. He tries to take the lead and go for the shots. That’s why he beat so many great players.”
Rublev goes on to face Hubert Hurkacz for a place in the final where he – and all the other semi-finalists – hope to pick up their first Masters trophy,
“I know how tough Hurkacz is, for example, he beat me last year,” Rublev said. “It’s more about that maybe I feel extra pressure, because I’m the one left [from the] Top 10 and looks like I’m high ranking and I feel more pressure.
“But I lost to Hurkacz, I lost to Roberto [Bautista Agut] 6-3 6-3 just two weeks ago. Jannik [Sinner], who is beating already many players, and I think he [has beaten] Top 10 players also… So in the end, everyone can win now.”
The Miami Masters is building up to a suitable climax.