Rublev freaked out, and then made a comeback! Rackets flew across the court in Cincinnati

Daniil Salnikov

Daniil Salnikov

Rublev freaked out, and then made a comeback!

At the major American Masters, the Russian, in a difficult struggle, began defending points for last year’s final. Kiryos can become his rival.

Andrey Rublev at a tournament in Cincinnati put on a show with throwing rackets on the court. Having lost his pitch, the Russian went crazy, and then made a comeback in a match with the Italian Fabio Fognini.

On Wednesday at the Masters in Cincinnati, the 2nd round matches ended. And the night before, the leader of the world rating Daniil Medvedev joined the fight. He defeated the Dutchman Botik van de Zandshulp in two sets. Now, after a day of rest, the Russian will only have to win one match against the best tennis player from a pair of Tommy Paul – Denis Shapovalov in order to guarantee himself the title of the first racket of the world until the end of the US Open. Alas, Aslan Karatsev left the race, who lost in three sets to the Argentinean Diego Schwartzman (13).

Medvedev has one victory left to save the first place!  Daniil famously started the Masters
Medvedev has one victory left to save the first place! Daniil famously started the Masters

The last of the Russians to enter the court was last year’s Cincinnati finalist Andrey Rublev (6). As a highly seeded, he, along with Medvedev, missed the first round and met in the 2nd round with Fabio Fognini. Initially, the Italian should not have been in the grid at all, but at the last moment, as a lucky loser, he replaced Alexander Bublik, who hastily left the competition for a good reason. The representative of Kazakhstan has just become a father.

Andrei and Fabio have a rich history of personal meetings. Before Cincinnati 2022, they had already played 10 times, and the score was equal – 5-5. They first met in Barcelona 2015, when Rublev was 17 years old and Fognini was 27. Then the more experienced Italian excelled, who by Beijing 2019 went into a solid lead – 5-1. But since then, only Andrei has won – at the ATP Cup, Wimbledon, in Toronto 2021, Belgrade 2022 and equalized the score – 5-5. Before the start of the tournament, Rublev said: “In Montreal, I lost in the first match. I don’t need to recover. Only if psychologically. The week in Montreal was depressing. And now I feel good – and this is the most important thing. For me, the most important thing is how I feel off the court. If I’m in a good mood, then even in bad shape I can show good tennis. But even if I’m in good shape, and the mood is bad, it will be like in Montreal. So the most important thing for me is how I feel off the court.”

Already the beginning of the 1st set showed that Andrey has not yet found peace of mind to the end. He really wanted to quickly gain an advantage, but the opponent did not allow it. Although Fognini often allowed doubles, he tenaciously kept the ball in play and sometimes he was helped by aces and short ones. And when in the 6th game the Russians started making mistakes, Fabio immediately made a break – 4:2. Andrey threw the racket on the court in annoyance. In the very next game, Rublev reached a break point, but could not achieve a reverse break, lost this game – 5: 2, and again his racket flew to the court. Perhaps this outburst of the Russians still helped through the game, when Fognini served for a set, Rublev played the set point and leveled the situation in the game. It came to a tie-break. There was an equal fight. Andrei missed another set point, and then the opponent caught him on inaccuracies – 7:6 (9:7) in 58 minutes.

In the second set there were no more breaks, although both tennis players had chances to catch on to other people’s games. And in the tie-break, luck has already smiled at Rublev – 7:6 (7:3) in 57 minutes. In the third installment, the fight was equal until the score was 2:2. And then Andrei took the opponent’s serve and quickly brought the set, and with it the whole match, to victory – 6:7, 7:6, 6:2.

So Andrei Rublev was able to make a comeback in an equal fight, dealt with Fabio Fognini in three sets and successfully began defending the points earned for reaching the Cincinnati final last year. In the 3rd round, the Russian will fight the winner of the pair Taylor Fritz – Nick Kyrgios.

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