Rublev comes back from the brink, storms into Australian Open QFs
Melbourne: Andrey Rublev roared back from the brink, saving two match points in a roller coaster match that he will “remember for the rest of my life,” to return to the Australian Open quarterfinals.
The world No.6 gained revenge over Holger Rune with a turbulent 6-3 3-6 6-3 4-6 7-6[11-9] epic on Rod Laver Arena, collapsing to the court in disbelief.
This duo, brimming with raw power, was the first meeting between two top-10 players in the men’s singles at AO 2023.
The incredible shot making was evidence of the level both are playing at.
The pair took their turn to command, took their turn to defend, the frequent momentum shifts making this an absorbing clash, AO reported. Each time it seemed one would pull clear, back roared the other with shots drawing gasps from the Rod Laver Arena crowd.
There was concern when Rune had his blood pressure checked at 2-1 in the fourth set. However, the tenacious teenager should never be counted out and returned to force a decision.
Energy was now emanating from the Danish prodigy. A sneak attack into the net was the telling move for a 3-1 lead. Rublev responded, his trademark inside-out forehand doing the damage, prompting his usual square-mouthed roar at having snatched back eight straight points to level at 5-5.
With three hours and twenty minutes on the clock, two match points quickly evaporated for Rune, without a clear chance in either.
This encounter deserved a match tie-break and it was the teenage sensation who sprinted to 5-0. Rublev then fired up his very best, a forehand nicking the tramline. With fortune favours the brave, the world No.6 inches ahead.
There was more drama. At 9-8 Rune read a Rublev drive volley, scrambled to his left and ripped a 143 km/h backhand pass down the line.
Yet it was Rublev’s day. At his third chance, the 25-year-old’s backhand return clipped off the net cord and trickled over. A cruel way to end a mind-boggling battle.
Rublev has been on the cusp of major glory for a handful of seasons.
The 25-year-old has booked his second last-eight ticket in Melbourne, which is his seventh major quarterfinal. In this form a maiden semifinal wouldn’t be a surprise.
A head-to-head record of 1-2 with both Novak Djokovic and Alex de Minaur offers up a cracking quarterfinal. It’s definitely one not to be missed. (UNI)