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Relentless Rublev Wins Masters 1000 Crown In Madrid

May 5th 2024

Relentless Rublev wins Masters 1000 crown in Madrid

Rublev conquers Auger Aliassime 4-6, 7-5, 7-5

Who would be the last man standing when so many succumbed to injuries and mid-match retirements? Andrey Rublev the fiery but affable Russian, started the season with a title in Hong Kong but has struggled since the default late in the third set against Alexander Bublik in Dubai in February. 

Although he was unable to defend his Masters 1000 crown in Monte Carlo last month (l. Popyrin), he has surged on the dirt in Madrid dispatching four seeds including world #3 and two-time defending champion, Carlos Alcaraz. 

The twenty-six-year-old with fifteen career titles is currently ranked 8th having achieved a career-high rank of five in 2021. In search of his second Masters 1000 title, he led Felix Auger Aliassime 4-1 in the head-to-head including a tight three-setter this past February in Rotterdam.

FAA also has struggled and has seen his ranking plummet from a career-high of #6 in 2022 to his current rank of thirty-five. The twenty-three-year-old Canadian with five career titles has found his form in the Spanish capital with impressive straight-set victories over world #19 Adrian Mannarino and #5 Casper Ruud. He was on the receiving end of two mid-match retirements (Jakub Menisk & Jiri Lehecka) and a walkover from the #1 seed, Jannik Sinner.  

(Image: Getty)

Rublev won the toss and elected to serve and probably wished he had not as he gifted two consecutive double faults and dumped serve. FAA made 4/5 first serves including an ace out wide and held to 15 to consolidate the break.

Rublev opened the third with his third double fault but got on the board with two consecutive well-struck serves. FAA donated two unforced errors but with a monster serve out wide, held to 30 for 3-1.

The 7th seed opened the fourth with an overhead smash but dropped serve following two groundstroke errors. The Canadian struck three consecutive winners to reach 40-0 but the Russian upped the ante with five consecutive winning shots to get back the break.

Rublev consolidated the break to 15 for 3-4 while FAA faced deuce before holding for 5-3. Rublev missed 5/10 first serves, faced two deuce and set point but with his first ace and two consecutive errors from his opponent, held for 4-5. FAA committed two consecutive errors but with his fourth ace and two winning forehands, saved break point and secured the set.

Rublev served first in the second and with two outstanding forehands and a colossal serve up the tee, held at love while FAA missed 4/5 first serves yet held to 15 to level. Rublev opened the third with an overhead smash and held to 15 for 2-1 while FAA struck two additional aces to level. 

Rublev opened the fifth with his second ace and with two consecutive smashes and an unreturnable serve, held for 3-2. The Canadian opened with a crisp forehand stab volley and though he faced deuce and break point, held for 3-3 with a brilliant backhand drop shot.

Rublev donated three consecutive errors including his fourth double fault but held for 4-3 when he crushed a forehand crosscourt. FAA opened the eighth with a double fault and despite another, managed to hold to 30 to level. The world #8 struck two consecutive winners and held easily to 15 and FAA returned the favor with his eighth ace on game point. 

Rublev opened the eleventh with a blistering backhand down the line and held at love for 6-5. The Canadian serving to stay in the set and force the breaker, opened with an ace out wide but conceded the set with four uncharacteristic groundstroke errors.

Rublev served first in the decider and with his third ace, held at love. FAA hit two consecutive forehand winners and his tenth ace but struggled as he faced five deuce and two break points before holding. 

Rublev held to 30 for 2-1 with an ace out wide while FAA faced double break point yet held courtesy of two additional aces. Rublev missed 2/4 first serves but held at love for 3-2 while FAA held to thirty with two consecutive winners.

Both continued to pummel the ball from the baseline and with exceptional footwork, effortlessly transitioned from defense to offense. Rublev opened the seventh with his fifth ace and with a fantastic forehand inside-in, held at love for 4-3

FAA missed 5/10 first serves, faced two deuce and break points but held to level with three phenomenal winners including his thirteenth ace. Rublev opened the ninth with his sixth ace and with his seventh, held to 15 for 5-4. FAA serving to stay in the match struggled in the forecourt but eked out the hold for 5-5

Rublev missed 3/4 first serves yet held at love for the fourth time in the third set. FAA serving to stay in the match and force the breaker, opened with an ace but two double faults cost him the match. It was an unfortunate ending to an exceptionally well-played, hard-fought, and captivating match. 

After an inauspicious start, Rublev finished with seven aces, five double faults and won 77% of first and 60% of second serve points. He was equally effective when returning, winning 29% of first and 64% of second serve return points. He saved 2/4 break points while converting 3/11 and struck twenty-five winners to fifteen unforced errors.

Both will take confidence and form to the Foro Italico as the clay court season continues in Rome where 1000 ranking points and bragging rights are up for grabs.