WATCH: Andrey Rublev defeats Holger Rune in the 2023 Australian Open fourth round with this unlikely net cord winner on match point.


There are epic tennis comebacks, and then there’s whatever Andrey Rublev did against Holger Rune at the Australian Open on Monday evening.

There wasn’t much to separate the two Top 10 players during the opening four sets of their scratchy fourth-round battle, but No. 9 seed Rune—seeking his career’s second Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance—finally began to pull away in the fifth.

Rublev trailed 2-5 in the final set, faced two match points at 6-5, and then found himself down 0-5 in the super tiebreak. But the Russian managed to stay calm, and the deciding set became an hour-long war of attrition as he willed himself back into it.

The No. 5 seed eventually outlasted Rune after three hours and 40 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, and he sealed the 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (11-9) roller coaster victory in the most unlikely way possible: with a net cord winner that just barely made it over the net.

“The last point never happened to me in my life. Was the luckiest probably moment,” Rublev said afterward. “Cannot be better moment than this, to have a match point to be in quarterfinal, 10-9 in tiebreak, to make a return at the net, then the ball pass over. It's probably the luckiest moment of my life.

“Now I can go to the casino. If I put [money], for sure I going to win.”

For Rublev, the match felt less like a roller coaster and more like a game of Russian roulette, as he told John Fitzgerald during the on-court interview:

Q. This game of tennis, it’s an emotional roller coaster ride, isn’t it?

ANDREY RUBLEV: "It's not a roller coaster, man. It's like they put gun to your head. Roller coaster is easier, man! (laughing)

“I was 5-2 down in the fifth set, at 6-5 had two match points, then down 5-0 and 7-3 in the super tiebreaker. I never in my life was able to win matches like this. This is the first ever time that I win something like this. (applause)

“And especially on a very special tournament like the Australian Open, to be in the quarterfinal… It’s something that I will remember for sure all my life.

“I have no words man, I’m shaking."


Back in the Australian Open quarterfinals for the first time since 2021, Rublev is likely hoping his good fortune holds for at least one more match.

Monday’s victory over Rune marks the seventh time that the 25-year-old has reached this stage at a Grand Slam, though he has yet to advance past it. But with so many top-seeded players bowing out amid early upsets, this could be the perfect opportunity for Rublev segue his roller coaster win into a long-awaited career breakthrough.

That is, if he can make it past the one opponent that no player wants to face in Melbourne: nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, who routed home hope Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-1, 6-2.

“I know that Novak is a very tough player to beat, especially on the Slams. He have the best experience to win these kinds of matches. He's one of the best in history,” Rublev acknowledged.

“The only chance I have is if I play my best tennis, just fight for every ball, and that's it.”