Alcaraz/Carreno Busta Upset Fourth Seeds In Barcelona

© Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell

Pablo Carreno Busta and Carlos Alcaraz save four of the five break points they face to defeat Wesley Koolhof and Lukasz Kubot on Monday in Barcelona.

Second seeds eliminated in Belgrade

Seventeen-year-old Carlos Alcaraz had never played a tour-level doubles match when he walked on Pista 2 on Monday at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. However, the #NextGenATP star and countryman Pablo Carreno Busta still earned an impressive win.

The Spaniards upset fourth seeds Wesley Koolhof and Lukasz Kubot 6-4, 6-1 in 68 minutes to reach the second round at the ATP 500. They will next play one of two all-French pairs: Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin or Adrian Mannarino and Benoit Paire.

Alcaraz and Carreno Busta saved four of the five break points they faced and earned four service breaks against the experienced doubles tandem.

Second Seeds Eliminated In Belgrade
Luke Bambridge and Dominic Inglot ousted second seeds Austin Krajicek and Oliver Marach 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 10-7 to reach the second round of the Serbia Open in Belgrade. The Brits saved one match point at 5/6 in the second-set tie-break. 

Aljaz Bedene and Divij Sharan took a 6-1 lead against Rohan Bopanna and Pablo Cuevas when Cuevas retired due to a left leg injury. Bopanna and Cuevas won titles together in Monte-Carlo and Vienna in 2017.

More stories like this in:

Krajinovic Survives Rollercoaster To Advance At Home In Belgrade

Filip Krajinovic‘s opening match at the Serbia Open Monday evening was a rollercoaster, but the fifth seed battled past Italian Stefano Travaglia 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 in two hours and 28 minutes to reach the second round in Belgrade.

The home favourite’s hopes were in jeopardy as he stared down a point to go down a double-break in the third set. But Krajinovic struck a perfect backhand passing shot to escape his predicament before rallying for the victory.

The Serbian raised his level from there. Although he was unable to take advantage of a match point at 5-4 the second set — he also served for the match at 7-5, 5-3 — the 29-year-old clawed through the decider to set a clash against countryman Nikola Milojevic, who opened the tournament with an impressive 6-4, 6-0 victory against Argentine Federico Coria.

<img src="https://sportblogg.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/millman-belgrade-2021-monday.jpg" alt="John Millman is chasing his first ATP Tour title on clay.”>

John Millman made a successful start to his Belgrade title bid with a 7-5, 6-4 victory against Danilo Petrovic. The seventh seed created 17 break points and converted four of them to overcome the Serbian wild card in one hour and 51 minutes.

Millman, who entered the tournament with a 3-8 record this season, is aiming to reach his first quarter-final of the year. The Aussie will meet Pablo Cuevas or Emil Ruusuvuori for a spot in the last eight. Millman lost his only previous ATP Head2Head clash against Cuevas at the 2016 Miami Open presented by Itau and has not met Ruusuvuori.

How To Watch

Serbian wild cards compiled a 1-2 record on Monday at the Novak Tennis Center. Milojevic was victorious, but Viktor Troicki was unable to join his countryman in the second round. Marco Cecchinato, the 2018 Roland Garros semi-finalist, needed 66 minutes to record a 6-1, 6-4 win against Troicki on Center Court.

Did You Know?
Krajinovic made his ATP Tour main draw debut in Belgrade as a 17-year-old in 2009, and he reached his first tour-level semi-final here the following year.

More stories like this in:

Nishikori Escapes Early Elimination In Barcelona

Two-time former champion Kei Nishikori survived a major scare on Monday to reach the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell second round.

The former World No. 4 recovered from 4-6, 2-4 down and was forced to break serve to stay in the match at 5-6 in the second set, before he charged to a 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 victory against Guido Pella after two hours and 39 minutes. The 2014 and 2015 champion claimed three service breaks in the decider to improve to 23-6 in Barcelona.

Nishikori will face 13th seed Cristian Garin for a spot in the third round. Garin won the pair’s only previous ATP Head2Head meeting at last year’s Hamburg European Open 6-0, 6-3.

Egor Gerasimov made a successful debut in Barcelona with a 7-5, 6-1 win against former Top 5 star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Belarusian converted four of his five break points to eliminate the 2010 quarter-finalist in 80 minutes. Gerasimov will meet #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner in the second round.

In the opening match on Pista Rafa Nadal, 2015 runner-up Pablo Andujar battled past Gilles Simon 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. Andujar broke serve on six occasions to confirm a second-round clash against fifth seed and countryman Roberto Bautista Agut.

Andujar was not the only home player to reach the second round on Monday. Qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles rallied from a set down to beat Andrey Kuznetsov 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-1.

More stories like this in:

Tsitsipas Wins Maiden Masters 1000 Crown In Monte-Carlo

Third time proved to be the charm for Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Sunday when he collected his first ATP Masters 1000 title with a 6-3, 6-3 victory against Andrey Rublev.

Appearing in his third final at the level, Tsitsipas dropped just four points behind his first serve (24/28) to capture the second biggest title of his career after 71 minutes. As a result of his final win, the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion will climb to first position in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin on Monday. The six-time ATP Tour titlist did not drop a set throughout his week at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.

“I had an unbelievable week in Monte-Carlo,” Tsitsipas said in his post-match interview. “I can’t describe my feelings right now. I am overwhelmed by so many different emotions and nostalgia. It is incredible that I am able to be in the position that I am. We both deserved to be in the final. We put on an amazing fight and an amazing show… I would consider it as the [best] week of my life so far.”


– Graphic courtesy Hawk-Eye Innovations/ATP Media

Tsitsipas claimed early breaks in each set and dominated on serve to narrow the gap on Rublev at the top of the 2021 wins leaderboard. The Monte-Carlo finalists currently occupy the top two positions on the list and are the only players to have claimed 20 or more victories this season.

2021 Match Wins Leaderboard


– Graphic courtesy Hawk-Eye Innovations/ATP Media
– Take a deep dive into this match with Match Insights powered by Infosys NIA

Tsitsipas has taken a 4-3 lead in his fiercely contested ATP Head2Head rivalry with Rublev. The 23-year-old gained revenge for his semi-final loss to the Russian at last month’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. Tsitsipas has won his past two clay-court encounters against Rublev, following his straight-sets quarter-final win at Roland Garros last year.

“I knew that he was going to be a very difficult opponent to face. There were a lot of nerves coming into that match. [We] always want to bring the best out of [ourselves] when facing each other. Playing Andrey was a very difficult thing to do today, also considering that it was a final. There is extra stress and extra importance in the match that we had to play. [I am] definitely proud of the way I managed to behave and be out on the court today.

“The clay court season couldn’t have started better,” Tsitsipas said. “It is the best thing winning my first Masters 1000 and it is even more special doing it here on home soil in Monte-Carlo and doing it on clay, which is my favourite surface.”

Tsitsipas made a fast start on Court Rainier III. The Athens native pinned Rublev into his backhand corner to earn his first break point of the match at 1-0 and switched tactics with a backhand up the line to claim the only break of the set. Tsitsipas dropped just two points across his next four service games (16/18) to move one set from victory.

Tsitsipas showcased a mix of power and precision on his backhand and found consistent depth on his forehand return to break for the second time at 1-1 in the second set. The World No. 5 continued his fine serving performance to reach match point, when he broke Rublev for the third time. Tsitsipas sunk to his knees in celebration after Rublev fired a cross-court backhand into the tramline.

Rublev was also chasing his first Masters 1000 trophy and the top spot in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin. The World No. 8 defeated Top 10 seeds Roberto Bautista Agut and 11-time champion Rafael Nadal in back-to-back three-set matches en route to his first Masters 1000 final.

Did You Know?
Tsitsipas is not the first member of his family to triumph at the Monte-Carlo Country Club. His mother, Julia Salnikova, won a junior title at the venue in 1981.

Mektic/Pavic Clinch Monte-Carlo Crown; Fifth Doubles Title Of Year

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic captured their fifth ATP Tour team title from six finals on Sunday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. The second-seeded Croatians won a repeat of the Miami Open presented by Itau final, beating Britons Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski 6-3, 4-6, 10-7 in one hour and 36 minutes.

Mektic and Pavic improved to a 29-3 match record on the season, which includes trophies at the Antalya Open (d. Dodig/Polasek), Murray River Open in Melbourne (d. Chardy/Martin), ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. Krawietz/Tecau) and Miami.

“It’s incredible, we’re so, so happy, especially because the final was so intense,” said Mektic, who also lifted the 2019 Monte-Carlo crown with Franko Skugor. “It was 10/7 for us, but it could have gone either way. It’s a wonderful place. It was special to win here with another fellow Croatian [in 2019] the first time around, and this is equally as special.”

Pavic said, “[Daniel and Neal] are very tough. They won a lot of matches. Neal won Acapulco before Miami too. I would like to see them playing more together, because they are a good team, but it’s up to Dan and his singles.

“We have played more than 30 matches and we’ve been playing great. We’re on a run. It was our first clay tournament together and the matches we’ve played before this week gave us confidence. It was good to get the Match Tie-break win yesterday [against Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos] too.”

Pavic, Mektic

Mektic and Pavic got off to the best possible start by winning the first three games. But the British pair clawed their way back, with Evans hitting a smash winner to break Pavic’s serve at 2-3. Pavic took his chance on return of serve in the eighth game, striking a backhand winner past Evans and closed out the 31-minute opener to love in the next game.

After an early exchange of breaks early in the second set, Evans did well to recover from 15/40 for a 3-2 advantage. The Britons went on to seal the second set when Pavic struck a backhand slice approach shot long.

The Match Tie-break appeared to turn in favour of Evans and Skupski, when Pavic struck back-to-back double faults from 5-4. But at 5/6, Mektic hit a backhand return winner down the line. Mektic later hit a reaction volley off a powerful Evans forehand that looped over Skupski’s head on championship point. Mektic and Pavic clinched the Miami title earlier this month with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Evans and Skupski.

“Well done again, another great week,” said Evans. “We can’t get you yet, but we’ll keep trying.” Skupski said: “Congratulations again, it seems to be going well for you this year.”

This week, Evans beat World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the singles third round and went on to reach the semi-finals at the Monte-Carlo Country Club. Skupski won the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC with his older brother, Ken Skupski, last month.

Rublev Reaches First Masters 1000 Final, Plays Tsitsipas In Monte-Carlo

Andrey Rublev booked a place in a first ATP Masters 1000 final on Saturday after he stopped Casper Ruud of Norway 6-3, 7-5 at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

There was no let down for the sixth-seeded Russian, a day on from his victory over 11-time former champion Rafael Nadal. Rublev improved to an ATP Tour-best 24-4 match record on the season by hitting 21 winners past Ruud for victory in 80 minutes at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.

“It is an amazing feeling. It is my first [ATP Masters 1000] final, so I am really happy,” Rublev said in his post-match interview. “We will see what is going to happen [in the final]. I will try to do my best.”


– Graphic courtesy Hawk-Eye Innovations/ATP Media
– Take a deep dive into this match with Match Insights powered by Infosys NIA

The 23-year-old will now look to record his second straight win over fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final. Rublev beat the 22-year-old Greek 6-3, 7-6(2) last month en route to the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament title in Rotterdam. Their ATP Head2Head series is tied at 3-3, with two clay-court meetings (1-1) in 2020 at Roland Garros and the Hamburg European Open.

Earlier in the day, Tsitsipas swept past Briton Daniel Evans, who had knocked out World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the Monte-Carlo third round. Tsitsipas won 6-2, 6-1 in 69 minutes for a spot in his third ATP Masters 1000 title match (also 2018 Toronto and 2019 Madrid).

How To Watch

Rublev was broken to love in the third game, but won 16 of the next 22 points to take a 5-2 lead in the first set and later completed the 32-minute opener with his ninth winner, a forehand down the line. The Russian continued to neutralise Ruud’s forehand with his own groundstroke game and earned a third service break at the start of the second set.

But Ruud, who beat 2019 champion Fabio Fognini on Friday, kept fighting by getting Rublev on the move behind the baseline. The Norwegian capitalised on a drop in intensity from the Russian to win four straight games for a 4-2 advantage. It triggered a reaction from Rublev, who broke in the seventh game and regained his first-service rhythm.

Rublev regained his composure after a 10-minute lapse and struck a backhand winner down the line to break Ruud for a 6-5 lead. Minutes later, the Russian sealed his place in a 11th ATP Tour final (8-2 record).

You May Also Like:

Tsitsipas Charges Into Monte-Carlo Final

“Casper is a really amazing player, especially on clay,” Rublev said. “Since the beginning he put a really high intensity [on the court] and was really tough. I knew that I needed to raise my level if I wanted to fight against him, because if I [did] not raise the level I [would] lose for sure.

“He started [by going] up with the break and I felt like I needed to raise my level, raise my speed [and] hit harder. Otherwise, I had no chance. I started to do it and then I started to play better and he started to miss a bit more. I think that was the key.”

World No. 8 Rublev helped Russia capture the ATP Cup in February, prior to a quarter-final exit at the Australian Open (l. to Medvedev). Last year, he won six five trophies, including three ATP 500 events.

Ruud, 22, beat World No. 9 Diego Schwartzman and saved two match points against Pablo Carreno Busta prior to his victory over Fognini. He is now 10-4 on the 2021 season after his second Masters 1000 semi-final appearance (2020 Rome). Rublev is now 4-0 against Ruud in their ATP Head2Head series.

Tsitsipas Charges Into Monte-Carlo Final

Almost two years after his most recent ATP Masters 1000 final appearance at the 2019 Mutua Madrid Open, Stefanos Tsitsipas raced past Daniel Evans 6-2, 6-1 at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Saturday to move one win away from his maiden trophy at the level.

The two-time Masters 1000 finalist broke Evan’s serve on five occasions to improve to 21-5 this season. Tsitsipas is through to his second final of the year, following his runner-up finish in Acapulco last month (l. to Zverev).

“I am indeed pleased with the performance,” Tsitsipas said in his post-match interview. “I found ways to play at my best. It was really difficult to maintain my level of consistency and I am really happy I managed to deal with all the different moments during the match. I had a lot of opportunities to hit the forehand, and think how I wanted to construct the point.”


– Graphic courtesy Hawk-Eye Innovations/ATP Media
– Take a deep dive into this match with Match Insights powered by Infosys NIA

Tsitsipas is yet to drop a set at the Monte-Carlo Country Club this week. The 22-year-old, who has reached the quarter-finals or better at six consecutive events, defeated Aslan Karatsev, Cristian Garin and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to book his third ATP Head2Head encounter against Evans (3-0).

The Greek will meet sixth seed Andrey Rublev in Sunday’s final. The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion is tied at 3-3 in his ATP Head2Head series against Rublev (1-1 on clay). They will meet for the second time in as many months after the Russian defeated Tsitsipas en route to the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament title in Rotterdam. Rublev took down Casper Ruud 6-3, 7-5 to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Monte-Carlo.

“I’m feeling good. I’m feeling energised. I still have plenty of gas and energy left in me,” Tsitsipas said. “I was able to have all of my matches done in two sets, so that is a big plus. I am happy to be able to play that way, just take it match by match, approach each individual match with the same intensity and energy… I’m really focused for tomorrow.”

Tsitsipas will meet sixth seed Andrey Rublev in Sunday’s final. The Russian backed up his quarter-final win against 11-time champion Rafael Nadal with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Norway’s Casper Ruud. Tsitsipas and Rublev are tied at 3-3 in their ATP Head2Head series (1-1 on clay).

In the first set, Tsitsipas found success by directing his groundstrokes into Evans’ backhand corner. The World No. 5 used the strategy to force Evans behind the baseline, and he punished short balls with powerful forehand winners into the open space.

How To Watch

Tsitsipas came to the net on 17 occasions throughout the match and his movement up the court proved crucial in the second set. The five-time ATP Tour titlist attacked Evans’ backhand and charged the net, before carving a backhand volley to break for 3-1. Tsitsipas raced to the finish line from that point to reach his 14th tour-level final (5-8).

Evans entered the tournament seeking his first tour-level win on clay since the 2017 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. The Brit, who had never previously won a Masters 1000 match on clay (0-5), beat 2019 runner-up Dusan Lajovic, Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Montpellier titlist David Goffin en route to his first Masters 1000 semi-final.

Mektic/Pavic Set Evans/Skupski Rematch In Monte-Carlo

Croatians Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic reached their sixth final in eight events this year on Saturday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. The second seeds recovered from 3-6, 2-4 down to defeat Marcel Granollers of Spain and Argentine Horacio Zeballos 3-6, 7-5, 10-4 in the opening match of the day on Court Rainier III.

Mektic and Pavic, who are 4-1 in title matches this season, will attempt to claim their second straight ATP Masters 1000 trophy on Sunday. Earlier this month, the Croatian pair defeated Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski to win its maiden Masters 1000 team trophy at the Miami Open presented by Itau – and they will aim to repeat that result after booking a championship rematch in the Principality.

You May Also Like:

Rublev Reaches First Masters 1000 Final, Plays Tsitsipas In Monte-Carlo

Granollers and Zeballos were attempting to move one win away from their third Masters 1000 title as a pair. The fourth seeds did not drop a set en route to the final four at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.

Hours after bowing out in singles to fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, Evans was back on court with Skupski to continue his Monte-Carlo run in doubles. The pair needed an hour and 36 minutes to defeat top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 7-6(0), 2-6, 10-4.

How To Watch

There was nothing to separate the unseeded Brits from the top-ranked Colombians for much of a tightly-contested opening set, before Evans and Skupski pulled away in the tie-break. After Cabal and Farah levelled the score at a set apiece, Evans and Skupski found their best tennis in the decider. A laser backhand return from Skupski and an inch-perfect lob from Evans set up match point, before Evans served it out. 

The victory sent Evans and Skupski, who are contesting just their second tournament of the year as a team, into their second consecutive Masters 1000 final.

Did You Know?
Mektic is attempting to win his second straight Monte-Carlo crown. The 32-year-old lifted the 2019 trophy alongside Franko Skugor.

More stories like this in:

Another Day, Another Comeback For Evans/Skupski

© Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski (right) are closing in on their second ATP Masters 1000 final.

Cabal and Farah advance to semi-finals

Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski stayed on track to reach their second straight ATP Masters 1000 final on Friday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

The Brits, who reached the Miami Open presented by Itau final earlier this month, were two points from defeat at 5/5 in the second-set tie-break, but they kept their composure to complete a 1-6, 7-6(5), 10-4 victory against Raven Klaasen and Ben McLachlan.

You May Also Like:

Evans Backs Up Djokovic Win, Reaches First Masters 1000 SF

It is not the first time this week that Evans and Skupski have escaped danger. The pair has come through Match Tie-breaks in all three of their matches this week, saved three match points in their second-round win against Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek on Thursday.

Evans and Skupski will meet top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah for a spot in the final. The Colombians closed Friday play with a 7-6(5), 7-5 win against Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman on Court des Princes.

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic advanced to their seventh semi-final of the year with a 6-3, 6-1 win against Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut. Mektic and Pavic saved all four break points they faced against the 2016 champions to move two wins away from their fifth title of the season.

The Croatian pair owns a 27-3 record in 2021, highlighted by its run to the Miami crown earlier this month. Mektic and Pavic will attempt to reach their sixth final of the year (4-1) when they face Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in the semi-finals.

How To Watch

Granollers and Zeballos charged past Cristian Garin and Guido Pella 6-3, 6-1 to reach the final four in the Principality. The fourth seeds did not face break point en route to their 54-minute win, which has kept alive their bid for a third ATP Masters 1000 team title. Granollers and Zeballos won the 2019 National Bank Open Presented by Rogers and last year’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

More stories like this in:

Rublev Stuns Nadal In Monte-Carlo QFs

Andrey Rublev held his nerve to complete a stunning 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 upset over 11-time champion Rafael Nadal on Friday to reach the semi-finals at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters for the first time.

The sixth-seeded Russian entered the clash trailing Nadal 0-2 in their ATP Head2Head and facing down the Spaniard’s daunting 73-5 record at this event. But he came out swinging fearlessly against Nadal on Court Rainier III, the same court where the Spaniard has lifted a record 11 trophies in the Principality.

“[On one side], if we look [at] a player like Rafa, who is the best clay-court player in history, then of course it’s one of my best victories for sure,” Rublev said in his post-match press conference. “But if you look at [it] from [the] other side, how he feels, for sure he didn’t play his even ‘good’ level today. In his position it’s so tough when people expect [that] you’re the best player on clay and you have to win yes or yes every time. You cannot lose on clay because you’re the best. It’s so tough to play with this feeling.

“He’s doing this year by year. He’s winning all the tournaments or going deep every time on clay tournaments. This is amazing how he handles this. That’s why he’s one of the legends.”

Rublev pressed Nadal from the back of the court as he dictated the rallies with his forehand and was rewarded with seven breaks of serve across three sets. Nadal has never hit more than eight double faults in a single tour-level match in his career (2014 Indian Wells), but he struck five in the first set alone and seven in total against Rublev. The Spaniard looked out of sorts during the early exchanges and was uncharacteristically misfiring on the backhand wing – a side that Rublev honed in on to great success.

“All the situation was strange,” Rublev said of his dominant start. “I mean, [it] was not real that I was winning 6-2, 3-1, having breakpoints for [a] second break. It was not real. Probably inside I understood that something is going to change. It cannot be like this all the match. If it’s like this all the match, then I don’t know, probably Rafa had his worst day of his life.”

HE
– Graphic courtesy Hawk-Eye Innovations/ATP Media
– Take a deep dive into this match with Match Insights powered by Infosys NIA

Once the third seed got going, it seemed like a classic Nadal comeback on clay was inevitable as he took the second set after a grueling 74-minute battle. With Nadal’s booming forehand finally connecting, the games became longer as the Spaniard tried to find inroads for a comeback. He finally broke through to level the score at 4-4, and reeled off the last four games of the set.

But Rublev responded emphatically in the decider, reestablishing his lead with an early break. He met Nadal blow for blow from the baseline, overpowering the Spaniard to open up a 5-1 lead. Rublev needed two hours and 32 minutes to close out the victory and seal a spot in his first Monte-Carlo semi-final. 

How To Watch

“I would say this week I am controlling my emotions [really well]. At the end that’s the key,” Rublev said. “If after the second set I would say something or if I would show emotions, for sure the third set will be over, [it] will be 6-2 for him. So I’m happy that I could handle it.”

The victory equals the biggest result of Rublev’s career. He now owns four wins against the World No. 3-ranked player, including a 6-3 6-4 rout of Roger Federer at 2019 ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati. Like Nadal at Monte-Carlo, Federer owns the tournament record for most titles at Cincinnati with seven wins.

Into his second consecutive ATP Masters 1000 semi-final, sixth seed Rublev will face Casper Ruud for a shot at his maiden championship match at this level. His opponent also completed an upset of his own on Friday, toppling defending champion Fabio Fognini in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, to advance. Rublev owns a 3-0 ATP Head2Head record against Ruud, including two victories on clay.

“[Casper] is playing really well. I have known him [for a] long time. He is an amazing player and every match against him was a dramatic match,” Rublev said. “We had really great rallies and a really great level of tennis. It is going to be super tough.

“He is in great shape now. He finished today much earlier [than me]. We will see what is going to happen tomorrow. I will try to recover as best as I can and to do my best tomorrow.”