Djokovic, Tsitsipas & More Congratulate Serena On 1,000th Match

WTA legend Serena Williams is playing her 1,000th match on Wednesday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia against Nadia Podoroska. ATP stars Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Grigor Dimitrov, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev sent the former World No. 1 a message to congratulate her on the incredible achievement.

Novak Djokovic
Congratulations on your big milestone playing the 1,000th match in your career. Words cannot describe how much you’ve contributed to tennis in general, both the male and female sides. You’ve been an icon for this sport, thank you so much for everything you have done on and off the court and what you keep on doing. You inspire myself and many other players on both the men’s and women’s side. We are so excited to share the same era as you as well. Wishing you all the best champ, keep going and happy to still watch you on the court.”

Alexander Zverev
Congratulations on playing your 1,000th match, what an achievement! I think you’ve been on the top of the game for such a long time, you’re the greatest tennis player of all time. I have nothing but respect for you, you know that. But I actually can say we’re quite good friends, so it’s always fun hanging around you. We always have a good laugh. I hope we can still have you around for quite a long time.” 

Stefanos Tsitsipas
“Serena, this is exquisite. I would like to congratulate you on your incredible achievement in your career and hopefully you can go on and keep playing and reach 2,000 matches on the Tour. I’m your biggest supporter and I really hope you get to play with me mixed doubles one day. Why not?”

Grigor Dimitrov
“Serena, congratulations on your 1,000th match. [You are] one of my closest friends and always [are] there to support me through the tough times. But all I can say is that you’re a true inspiration to the sport and you have shown not only me, but everyone around what you are capable of. The achievements that you have reached and the achievements that you want to reach are truly amazing. Stay blessed and keep on playing this sport.”

Daniil Medvedev
“Hi Serena, congrats on your 1,000th match. That’s a huge achievement, something unbelievable. Hopefully I can see you play [another] thousand on the Tour, even if it’s not easy, but I wish you this.”

Andrey Rublev
“Hey Serena, what’s up? Congrats on your 1,000th match. This is amazing. The things you’ve achieved, it’s unreal. Good job. You know everything better than me!”

Rublev Works Hard At Foro Italico

Andrey Rublev found a way past Jan-Lennard Struff on Wednesday for a place in the third round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

The seventh-seeded Russian bounced back from squandering two set points in the first set to break Struff, this year’s BMW Open runner-up, 6-7(7), 6-1, 6-4 in two hours and 17 minutes on Court 4.

World No. 7 Rublev, who lost to Hubert Hurkacz in the second round on his Rome debut last year, is now 28-7 on the season, which includes his eighth ATP Tour title at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

The 23-year-old, who has also reached the Miami Open presented by Itau semi-finals (l. to Hurkacz) and the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters final (l. to Tsitsipas) this year, will now challenge No. 10 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in Rome.

Rublev, who had beaten Struff in three sets at the ATP Cup in February, led 6/4 in the first set tie-break, but struck two backhand winners. Struff closed out the 60-minute opener with an ace, but Rublev responded.

In tightening up his return game, Rublev put Struff under pressure on serve and the German’s error count started to rise, with breaks of serve in the third and sixth games of the second set, which lasted just 27 minutes. Rublev struck a forehand winner to break for a 2-1 lead in the decider that ended with the Russian saving three break points in an 18-point game.

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Bautista Agut, this season’s runner-up at the Open Sud de France (l. to Goffin) and Qatar ExxonMobil Open (l. to Basilashvili), wore down Cristian Garin 7-6(5), 6-3 in just over two hours. The first set lasted 72 minutes.

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Rublev Survives Paul Challenge In Madrid

Andrey Rublev overcame a tough challenge on his Mutua Madrid Open debut on Tuesday to beat Tommy Paul 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 for a place in the third round. Paul put forth a brilliant effort while Rublev struggled to control the ball in the unfamiliar high altitude. 

“It’s important to win when you’re not [playing] your [best] game and things are not going well,” the Russian said on-court. “So it’s really important to win this match to have more confidence. I’m happy that I turned it around.”

The World No. 7, who has advanced to the quarter-finals or better in all seven tournaments he has played this season, is now 9-2 at the ATP Masters 1000 level in 2021, after reaching the semi-finals in Miami and the final in Monte-Carlo.

Rublev’s next opponent is still undecided as John Isner awaits the winner of Roberto Bautista Agut and Marco Cecchinato, who play later Tuesday.

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Rublev opened up a 4-2 lead in the first set, but Paul stayed calm, even with this week also marking his Madrid debut. After four straight service breaks heading into the tie-break, and later a 1/5 deficit, the American held his nerve to fight back and clinch the 49-minute opener by winning six points in a row.

In the second set, Paul showed signs of fatigue, and after trading service games, Rublev capitalised on Paul’s slight letdown in energy to break for 5-3. The third set could have gone either way with both raising their intensity. Paul had a look at a break point at 4-3, but Rublev saved it and then took all of the momentum to break in the very next game. He sealed his first win in Madrid with an ace.

Rublev improves to 3-0 in their ATP Head2Head Series and inches ahead of Stefanos Tsitsipas to take the lead for most ATP wins in 2021 with 27.

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Preview: ‘Recharged’ Thiem Leads Seeds, Rublev Ready For Debut

The top seeds are set to hit the courts as first-round action wraps up at La Caja Magica on a jam-packed Tuesday at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Third seed Dominic Thiem leads the way, set to start against American qualifier Marcos Giron under the lights inside Manolo Santana Stadium. Into the second round with a bye, the two-time Madrid finalist is contesting his first tournament since the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships after taking a break to recharge.

“It had something to do with [winning] the US Open title,” Thiem said in a pre-tournament interview. “Chasing a goal for such a long time and then finally achieving it, it took a lot out of my body and my head. With all the euphoria and everything, I was playing well the rest of last year. And then in Australia, it somehow got to me a little bit. I decided to take a little bit of time off to recover and make a small reset.

“I feel recharged. I was away from tennis for a while and away from everything, so I definitely recharged and I’m ready again for everything.”

Thiem, who owns a 5-4 record on the season, is looking for his 18th tour-level title in Madrid, and his second ATP Masters 1000 crown.

Sixth seed Andrey Rublev will start his debut Madrid campaign against American Tommy Paul in the second round at Arantxa Sanchez Stadium. The World No. 7 is hoping that his snakebitten years are behind him, after a series of unfortunate events – ranging from a wrist injury and a spinal fracture to a global pandemic – kept him out of the tournament for the past three years.

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“When my ranking became [high enough] and I was around 30 in the world, I was injured twice, two seasons in a row, during the summer which is the clay-court season. And then last year was pandemic,” Rublev said with a wry smile. “So unlucky three seasons already, and now finally I’m here. I’m feeling like hopefully it’s going to be my first year when I play the whole season, non-stop, all the tournaments.”

Rublev couldn’t be in a better position for his first Madrid venture, after recently reaching his first Masters 1000 final at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (l. Tsitsipas). He is tied for the most wins on the ATP Tour with 26, and will hope to add one more and extend his ATP Head2Head lead against Paul to 3-0.

Also in action, eighth seed Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini booked an all-Italian second-round battle. It will be their second career meeting, with Fogini claiming a straight-sets victory in their 2017 Internazionali BNL d’Italia match.

#NextGenATP stars Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jannik Sinner will also be among those searching for a spot into the second round on Tuesday. Coached by the inimitable Toni Nadal, Auger-Aliassime will face Norway’s Casper Ruud in his opening match, while Miami finalist Sinner will meet Argentina’s Guido Pella for the first time. Karen Khachanov and Kei Nishikori also feature, facing off for the fifth time in the first match of the day.

ORDER OF PLAY – TUESDAY, MAY 04, 2021
MANOLO SANTANA STADIUM start 11:00 am

First Round – K. Khachanov (RUS) vs K. Nishikori (JPN)

Not Before 1:00 PM
WTA MATCH – [13] E. Mertens (BEL) vs [3] S. Halep (ROU)

Not Before 3:00 pm
First Round – [9] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) vs [Q] M. Cecchinato (ITA)

Not Before 7:00 pm
Second Round – [3] D. Thiem (AUT) vs [Q] M. Giron (USA)

ARANTXA SANCHEZ STADIUM start 11:00 am
First Round – [15] F. Auger-Aliassime (CAN) vs C. Ruud (NOR)
Second Round – T. Paul (USA) vs [6] A. Rublev (RUS)

Not Before 3:00 PM
WTA MATCH – [5] A. Sabalenka (BLR) vs J. Pegula (USA)
Second Round – [8] M. Berrettini (ITA) vs F. Fognini (ITA)
WTA MATCH – [ND] M. Keys (USA) / J. Pegula (USA) vs [2] B. Krejcikova (CZE) / K. Siniakova (CZE)

STADIUM 3 start 11:00 am
First Round – G. Pella (ARG) vs [14] J. Sinner (ITA)
First Round – C. Norrie (GBR) vs F. Krajinovic (SRB)
Second Round – A. Bublik (KAZ) vs [11] D. Shapovalov (CAN)

Not Before 5:00 PM
WTA MATCH – A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs [11] J. Brady (USA)
Second Round – A. de Minaur (AUS) vs L. Harris (RSA)

COURT 4 start 11:00 am
[Q] P. Herbert (FRA) vs A. Davidovich Fokina (ESP)
T. Fritz (USA) vs A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP)
N. Basilashvili (GEO) vs B. Paire (FRA)
K. Krawietz (GER) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs H. Kontinen (FIN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA)

COURT 5 start 11:00 am
[12] H. Hurkacz (POL) vs J. Millman (AUS)
[Q] A. Popyrin (AUS) vs J. Struff (GER)
T. Puetz (GER) / A. Zverev (GER) vs F. Auger-Aliassime (CAN) / H. Hurkacz (POL)
[7] W. Koolhof (NED) / L. Kubot (POL) vs [WC] P. Tsitsipas (GRE) / S. Tsitsipas (GRE)

COURT 6 start 11:00 am
WTA MATCH – E. Perez (AUS) / S. Zheng (CHN) vs [5] A. Guarachi (CHI) / D. Krawczyk (USA)

Not Before 12:30 PM
WTA MATCH – [OSE] B. Bencic (SUI) / J. Teichmann (SUI) vs N. Hibino (JPN) / R. Voracova (CZE)
WTA MATCH – [DA PR] E. Vesnina (RUS) / V. Zvonareva (RUS) vs [OSE] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / I. Swiatek (POL)
WTA MATCH – [3] G. Dabrowski (CAN) / D. Schuurs (NED) vs V. Kudermetova (RUS) / A. Potapova (RUS)
After Suitable Rest – S. Gille (BEL) / J. Vliegen (BEL) vs M. Fucsovics (HUN) / C. Ruud (NOR)

Khachanov/Rublev Roll Past Fognini/Schwartzman In Madrid

© Corinne Dubreuil//ATP Tour

Andrey Rublev (left) and Karen Khachanov move into the second round at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Russians to next face third seeds Granollers/Zeballos

Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev overcame a tricky first-round test against Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman 7-6(5), 6-2 to make a winning start at the Mutua Madrid Open on Sunday.

The Russian duo recovered from a 0-2 deficit in the first set against Fognini and Schwartzman, who recently reached the quarter-finals at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. Khachanov and Rublev broke back and took them into a tightly-contested tie-break, where just one mini-break for 2/0 made the difference for the Russians.

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Scouting Report: Nadal Leads The Way In Madrid, Tsitsipas Chasing Glory

Khachanov and Rublev took charge in the second set, creating four break opportunities and converting twice to close out the victory in an hour and 18 minutes. They booked a second-round clash against third seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos.

Also in action, Marcelo Demoliner and Daniil Medvedev reprised their occasional partnership to take down Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski 6-3, 7-6(4) in an hour and 22 minutes. Demoliner and Medvedev saved six of the seven break points they faced en route to victory against the Brits, who arrived in Madrid after reaching back-to-back ATP Masters 1000 finals in Miami and Monte-Carlo (l. Mektic/Pavic).

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Demoliner and Medvedev await the winner between seventh seeds Wesley Koolhof and Lukasz Kubot and wild cards Petros Tsitsipas and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round.

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Rublev, Federer Visit Famous Sports Venues

People from all around the world watch the ATP Tour’s biggest stars. But this week, Andrey Rublev and Roger Federer were the fans, visiting notable sports venues. 

Rublev, who lost in the quarter-finals of last week’s Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, has remained in Spain. And on Tuesday, the Russian got an inside look at Camp Nou, the home of FC Barcelona.

“It’s a huge stadium,” Rublev said. “I was watching [matches here] a couple of times live and it’s amazing when it’s a full crowd. It looks like the stadium is never ending.”

The 23-year-old admitted he doesn’t watch every match, but he still enjoys supporting the club.

“When it’s something big, I follow. Like a final of Copa del Rey, for example,” Rublev said. “I wish them all the best. I hope they’re going to win La Liga.”

Federer visited a different kind of arena. The 103-time tour-level champion toured the home of Swiss ice hockey team SC Bern.

NHL stars who have played for the club include John Tavares, Roman Josi and Daniel Briere among others. Federer posted an Instagram story sitting in front of the locker of Thomas Rufenacht.

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Rublev Below His Best, But Survives In Barcelona

Andrey Rublev worked his way into the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell quarter-finals on Thursday, but was far from his best in a 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-4 victory over Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas in two hours and 27 minutes.

The third-seeded Russian found a way to record an ATP Tour-best 26th match win of the season, striking 24 of his 35 winners off his forehand wing and clinching 12 of 14 points at the net. He finished runner-up to Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday in the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters final.

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Rublev, who felt “angry” after his opening-round win over Italian lucky loser Federico Gaio on Wednesday, admitted, “Nothing has changed, I didn’t learn my lessons. The most important thing is that I managed to win today. When you’re not doing something correctly, but you’re still winning matches, it gives you confidence. Albert was playing much better than me early in the third set, but you never know which way it will go.”

Rublev, who picked up the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament title in Rotterdam (d. Fucsovics) last month, will next challenge Italian No. 11 seed Jannik Sinner, the recent Miami Open presented by Itau finalist, on Friday. The pair met in October last year at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, but Sinner retired at 1-2 in the first set.

Rublev opened up a 4-1 lead in the first set, but let Ramos-Vinolas back in. Groundstroke errors cost the World No. 7 in the second-set tie-break and while he led 4-2 in the decider, Ramos-Vinolas recovered once again. Ramos-Vinolas, this season’s Cordoba Open finalist (l. to J. Cerundolo), could not convert four break points at 4-5 and paid the price as Rublev finished off with a forehand winner.

Later in the day, Jannik Sinner extended his perfect ATP Head2Head record to 3-0 against fifth-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut with a 7-6(9), 6-2 victory in one hour and 56 minutes.

Sinner, the No. 11 seed from Italy, who broke into the Top 20 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time this week, saved set points at 5/6, 7/8 and 8/9 in the first set tie-break. Sinner previously beat Bautista Agut this year at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and also en route to the Miami Open presented by Itau final.

The 19-year-old Italian clinched his second ATP Tour title in February at the Great Ocean Road Open (d. Travaglia).

Rublev 'Feels Angry', But Finds A Way To Win In Barcelona

Andrey Rublev didn’t have things all his own way on Wednesday, but opened his Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell campaign with a win. The third-seeded Russian was often left frustrated by Italy lucky loser Federico Gaio’s game, and also the string tension in his racquets, during a 6-4, 6-3 victory over 84 minutes.

“It was more mental today,” said World No. 7 Rublev. “It was the way I was behaving after what I was trying to do in Monte-Carlo. I got the win, which is the most important thing, but I do feel angry. When you’re not thinking, you’re always trying to find excuses, but I need to control my emotions.”

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Rublev will next play Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who defeated Adrian Mannarino of France 6-4, 6-4 in 82 minutes. Rublev leads Ramos-Vinolas 2-1 in their ATP Head2Head series, but the Barcelona third-round clash will be their first meeting on clay.

Rublev, who reached his first ATP Masters 1000 last week at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, raised his level when it counted and improved to an ATP Tour-leading 25-5 match record on the season. He captured his eighth trophy last month at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. Fucsovics).

Rublev was below his best in the 41-minute first set, saving two break points at 4-4 before putting his foot down to break after Gaio struck a forehand wide. They exchanged service breaks early in the second set, before 23-year-old Rublev won the final three games – including three winners in a love hold at the end.

Elsewhere, in the first of what could be a great ATP2Head rivalry in the future, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime battled back to beat fellow #NextGenATP star Lorenzo Musetti of Italy 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 in two hours and five minutes.

Tenth seed Auger-Aliassime, who is being coached by Rafael Nadal’s uncle, Toni Nadal, will now face seventh-seeded compatriot Denis Shapovalov in the third round.

“I had chances in the second set to break him, but I didn’t convert those chances,” said Musetti. “I then started to feel sore in the lower back and it got worse and worse. I couldn’t play, but I don’t like to retire. When I served, I couldn’t turn my shoulder and it was painful. I am a little bit disappointed and sad. I played a good first set and now I will rest.”

Rublev: ‘He Was Just Better Than Me’

After a memorable week at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, Andrey Rublev gave a simple review of his 6-3, 6-3 loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the championship match.

“He was just better than me,” said Rublev.

The World No. 8 entered his maiden ATP Masters 1000 final in peak form, having claimed three-set wins against ninth seed Roberto Bautista Agut and 11-time champion Rafael Nadal earlier in the week. Despite his best efforts, Rublev was simply unable to bring his best level to the court in the championship match as Tsitsipas dominated on serve and converted all three of his break points.

“I feel happy with the week, and I feel super sad with the final, that I couldn’t show the game [I have]. I couldn’t show fight,” said Rublev. “I didn’t win, but of course I’m happy with the week because I beat so many great players. I beat one of the best players in history. It’s a special week.”

Rublev and Tsitsipas’ battle was their fourth meeting since the resumption of the ATP Tour last August (2-2). The pair has already contested seven ATP Head2Head battles (Tsitsipas leads 4-3) and they also met on multiple occasions at junior level.

With Rublev, 23, and Tsitsipas, 22, both still in the early stages of their careers, the Monte-Carlo finalists are well aware that this could be the start of an epic rivalry. The pair has already met in two ATP Tour finals, two Grand Slams, the Nitto ATP Finals and the Next Gen ATP Finals.

“He’s the one from the top players that I [have been] playing the most,” said Rublev. “We played already [a] couple of finals, [and a] couple of important matches… I have more stories of matches [against] him compared [to] other players. I hope it’s the beginning of something. I hope I will also be able to win some of them.”

Rublev will now turn his attention to the remainder of the European clay swing. After one event on the red dirt this season, he has already reached a significant milestone with his first Masters 1000 final appearance. The eight-time ATP Tour titlist will now turn his attention to next week’s Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, where he compete as the third seed.

“It’s my first tournament on clay and I already [reached a] final, my first final [at a] Masters 1000,” said Rublev. “It’s a great beginning. I hope I can show great game every week.”

Final Preview: Tsitsipas To Face Rublev For Maiden Masters 1000 Glory

For the second straight ATP Masters 1000 event, a new champion will be lifting his first trophy at this level as Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Andrey Rublev for the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters title.

There will be more than just Monte-Carlo glory on the line for Tsitsipas and Rublev. The winner will head the FedEx ATP Race To Turin leaderboard for a place at the Nitto ATP Finals on Monday. Rublev has already overtaken current leader Novak Djokovic with his performance this week, though Tsitsipas could still rise to the top spot with a victory in the clay-court final. 

After letting a big chance slip away at the Miami Open presented by Itau, the first ATP Masters 1000 event without Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic in 17 years, both players arrived in the Principality eager for redemption. Tsitsipas and Rublev made strong showings in Miami, but were beaten by eventual champion Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively.

Sixth seed Rublev revealed that the key to bouncing back and reaching his first Masters 1000 final this week has been to keep a tight lid on his emotions – a lesson he learned the hard way in South Florida.

“That’s why I lost [in Miami], because of my emotions,” Rublev said after his semi-final victory. “In the end if you want to learn, you will improve this. I hope I want to learn and I want to improve. That’s why I’m doing better. Of course, it’s not easy. [In] some matches [there] will still be up and downs.”

RUSSIAN ATP MASTERS 1000 SINGLES TITLISTS

Player Titles Tournaments
Marat Safin 5 2000 Toronto; 2000, ’02, ’04 Paris; 2004 Madrid
Daniil Medvedev 3 2019 Cincinnati, 2019 Shanghai, 2020 Paris
Nikolay Davydenko 3 2006 Paris, 2008 Miami, 2009 Shanghai
Andrei Chesnokov 2 1990 Monte-Carlo, 1991 Montreal
Karen Khachanov 1 2018 Paris

The Russian claimed his first victory over Nadal (1-2) on the Spaniard’s favourite surface and after weathering a second-set comeback to triumph 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. It felt like a coming-of-age moment for the 23-year-old, who has an ATP Tour-best 24-4 match record in 2021. The tennis world seemed to be waiting for Rublev to find a way to translate his electrifying performances at ATP 500-level to the big stages at Masters 1000 events, and he did so against arguably the toughest opponent possible with a defeat of the 11-time former champion.

But he passed another big test in the next round, staying calm in order to back up the win against unseeded Casper Ruud 6-3, 7-5 and reach the championship match.

“This week looks like I’m really controlling my emotions [very well]. That’s why I’m doing well,” Rublev explained. “That’s why I won the match with Robert when I was losing. That’s why I won the match against Rafa when he came back in [the] second set. Even today [in] the second set, I come back because I didn’t go crazy. I just keep focused. I keep staying in the match. It turned around.” 

2021 Monte-Carlo Tsitsipas Rublev
Aces 10 16
1st Serve Percentage 57% (110 of 192) 58% (188 of 323)
1st-Serve Points Won 75% (82 0f 110) 70% (131 of 188)
2nd-Serve Points Won 65% (53 of 82) 46% (62 of 135)
Service Games Won 91% (31 of 34) 74% (37 of 50)
Break Points Saved 57% (4 of 7) 54% (15 of 28)
1st Serve Return Points Won 39% (52 of 132) 42% (78 of 187)
2nd-Serve Return Points Won 58% (53 of 91) 56% (63 of 112)
Return Games Won 39% (12 of 31) 45% (21 of 47)
Break Points Converted 52% (12 of 23) 57% (21 of 37)

Rublev will take on two-time Masters 1000 finalist Tsitsipas for the second time in 2021 when they hit Court Rainier III on Sunday. The pair has already met six times in their ATP Head2Head series (3-3), including three matches last year and also at last month’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

The Greek player has been in world-beating form this week in Monte-Carlo, where he also lives and trains. Tsitsipas hasn’t dropped a set all week, grounding Dubai champion Aslan Karatsev in his opening match, and cruising against Cristian Garin and breakout semi-finalist Daniel Evans. He also beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (7-5, ret.) along the way.

“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 I would say 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. That has obviously contributed to that, to be able to finish the matches in two sets, not go to three-setters.” 

Five-time ATP Tour titlist Tsitsipas is looking to lift his biggest trophy in Monte-Carlo after his 2019 Nitto ATP Finals triumph at The O2 in London. A victory would also be his first championship at an ATP 500, ATP Masters 1000 or Grand Slam tournament. By contrast, his opponent Rublev has swept 23 matches and four titles in a row at ATP 500 events from 2020-21.

It took a member of the Big Three to stop Tsitsipas in his previous Masters 1000 finals at the 2018 National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in Toronto (l. Nadal) and at the 2019 Mutua Madrid Open (l. Djokovic). Gearing up for his clash with Rublev, a first-time finalist at this level, Tsitsipas assured the press that he is not feeling any added pressure to get the job done.

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Pressure? Not For Tsitsipas: ‘It’s How Much I Really Want It’

“It’s not so much about that. It’s more how much I really want it,” Tsitsipas said. “That doesn’t necessarily add pressure to me. It’s just pure determination, willingness to go over the top to get what I want. I don’t like to think as it of pressure. I wouldn’t call it that way.”

In the first match on Court Rainier III, Evans will hope to complete his dream week in Monte-Carlo with the ultimate prize as he partners with countryman Neal Skupski in the championship doubles clash. The pair has reached back-to-back Masters 1000 finals in Miami and Monte-Carlo, the first two tournaments of their new partnership. The Brits will have a chance to avenge their South Florida defeat on Sunday as they’ve booked a rematch with second seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.

Watch Live | View TV Schedule

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SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, APRIL 18, 2021
COURT RAINIER III start 12:00 noon

D. Evans (GBR) / N. Skupski (GBR) vs [2] N. Mektic (CRO) / M. Pavic (CRO)

Not Before 2:30 pm
[4] S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs [6] A. Rublev (RUS)