Andrey Rublev was in ruthless mood as he brought to an end the fairy-tale story of Lorenzo Sonego’s Viennese journey as a Lucky Loser entry into the Erste Bank Open in the Austrian capital.
This tournament is really special for me because my grandmother was also Austrian, so I have Austrian blood. It’s a special title for me. Andrey Rublev
The 23-year-old Russian, seeded five for the event, produced another top level performance as he swept through to his fifth title of the season – currently the most won by a player in 2020 – 6-4 4-4 after just 79-minutes and maintain his record of not dropping a set all week.
The win also ensured his place n the line-up for this month’s season ending ATP Tour Finals at the O2 in London.
Rublev never let his Italian opponent, playing his first final, to get into his stride. He obviously had a game plane having watched Sonego in action during his semi-final win over Dan Evans and kept the pressure on his backhand thereby nullifying his lethal forehand and to some extent, the drop shots which had served him so well during the week.
Rublev claimed his first break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead, courtesy of two forehand errors by Sonego whose serve had also been a strong feature this week.
From that moment Rublev took control, shrugging aside two break points as he served for the opening set and never looked in danger of dropping his focus and failing to achieve his objective of claiming a fifth title and securing that O2 place.
“This tournament is really special for me because my grandmother was also Austrian, so I have Austrian blood. It’s a special title for me.,” Rublev said in his post-match interview.
“I congratulate with Lorenzo. We played for the first time in 2016 and he has made a big step forward since then.
“I thank the Vienna organizers for staging this tournament in this difficult period and my coach Fernando Vicente and the rest of my team,” he added having become the first Russian to collect five tournaments in a year since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009.
Meanwhile Sonego leaves Vienna with plenty crow about.
Having been granted that ‘lucky Loser’ ticket when Diego Schwartzman pulled out on the opening day, he romped through his half of the draw collecting the world number-one’s scalp on the way! That victory over Novak Djokovic was the best result of his career and will provide him with the boost he needs to rise up the rankings further. Currently he stands at 32.
“This was one of the best tournaments of this year. It was an amazing final for me. I like Vienna and thank you for the support,” the 25-year-old Sonego, who only started playing tennis at the age of 11, said in his post-match interview.
The Australian world number 45 John Millman won the Astana Open title in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, when he beat the third seeded Adrian Mannarino of France, 7-5 6-1 after 1 hour and 48 minutes.
Aged 31, Millman saved all six break points he faced and broke Mannarino three times for the first ATP Tour title of his career an his third over the Frenchman in as many previous meetings.
Millman saved five break points in the opening set and got his first break in the 12th with a backhand down the line to close it out the first. He then reeled off five consecutive games to win the second and the title.
“To all the team back home that’s littered around the world, thank you for always supporting me not just in the good times but in the tough times. This is my first ATP 250 that I have won and it’s really special that I could do it in Nur Sultan.
“Massive thank you. I have enjoyed every minute of being a guest in this great country. Thanks you.
“ Congratulations to Adrian we have some tough battles and some really hard-fought matches. You are so tough to play. You compete so hard. Thank you for sharing the court with me today”, said Millman, a native of Brisbane.
“It’s incredible. I am so happy and relieved. I just feel satisfied. It’s just a pure moment of satisfaction. That was my third final, third time I guess. These things aren’t easy to win and to do so at a place where I felt so comfortable all week in terms of hospitality, makes it really special. To win the inaugural Astana Open is special. I am so happy. It has been a big team effort and I am pumped,” he added.