Andrey Rublev added another chapter to his 2020 success story on Sunday, overcoming Borna Coric 7-6(5), 6-4 to win the St. Petersburg Open, lifting his fourth ATP Tour trophy of the year.
The Russian won 80 per cent of his service points (49/61) in a dominant one-hour, 39-minute serving performance. Rublev extended his winning streak to 10 matches on home soil, having lifted the VTB Kremlin Cup trophy in Moscow last year.
“I feel happy. This one is really special for me. I think this one is the most special for me, for the moment and will always be special,” said Rublev.
The 22-year-old became the fifth Russian player to capture the St. Petersburg crown, following in the footsteps of Yevgeny Kafelnikov (1995), Marat Safin (2000-’01), Mikhail Youzhny (2004) and Daniil Medvedev (2019).
With his fourth ATP Head2Head win against Coric (4-0), Rublev increased his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time. The six-time tour-level champion adds 500 points to his FedEx ATP Battle For London total and is now in pole position to become the seventh man to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.
The Russian is 249 points ahead of ninth-placed Diego Schwartzman, who occupies the final qualification position, and 354 points clear of 10th-placed Matteo Berrettini. Berrettini will drop 200 points from his total on 9 November due to his round-robin win at the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals.
“I know I have a really good chance to qualify, but still it is not 100 per cent yet,” said Rublev. “This year, I didn’t expect that I would have a chance, so in the end nothing is going to change for me. Even if I don’t make it, the season was really good for me anyway. If I make it, it is really good news. [It is] one chance to compete against the best players, to do my best.”
FedEx ATP Battle For London
Rublev has found consistent success in 2020. The World No. 10 opened the season by becoming the first man since Dominik Hrbaty in 2004 to win consecutive trophies in the first two weeks of the year (Doha, Adelaide). Since the return of the ATP Tour, Rublev has compiled a 19-4 record and clinched ATP 500 crowns in Hamburg and St. Petersburg.
“I am proud and I am happy with the way I am performing,” said Rublev. “I try not to think about it. I try to focus on the things I still need to improve, because there are so many things I can improve and I have to improve if I want to be at the same level or even better.”
Rublev is now level with fellow four-time 2020 titlist Novak Djokovic atop of the 2020 ATP Tour trophies leaderboard. The 6’2” right-hander is also in second place on the ATP Tour wins list this year with a 34-7 mark, trailing leader Djokovic by only three wins (37-2).
“On Friday, I lost my grandmother so… it was really tough,” said Rublev. “I am happy that this is the way I finished the tournament and it is a really special tournament for me.”
Coric was attempting to lift his first ATP Tour trophy since the 2018 NOVENTI OPEN in Halle. The Croatian finished as runner-up in St. Petersburg for the second straight year after falling to Medvedev in last year’s final.
“When I go back home I can train even more, I can train harder,” said Coric. “Next year I will come back for sure and hopefully I can win [the title].”
In a set that featured just one break point, Rublev rallied from 2/5 down in the tie-break to snatch the first set. The Russian covered his baseline well and focussed his attack on Coric’s forehand to extract six errors and move one set from the title.
Rublev switched his focus to Coric’s backhand to earn the first break of the match and continued to dominate his service games to maintain his advantage. The Moscow native, who did not face a break point throughout the championship match, charged to the net to claim the title with a forehand drive volley.