World No. 6 Andrey Rublev reached his second Rolex Monte Carlo Masters final in three years on Saturday, putting a disappointing first-set finale behind him and later waiting out a lengthy rain stoppage to defeat 10th-ranked Taylor Fritz, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3.

“When the conditions are cold, then it’s more about physical and endurance. It’s tougher to hit winner, you need to have patience, you need to wait for the right moment,” Rublev told Tennis Channel’s Prakash Amritraj. “The ball is much heavier, so it’s tougher to try and control.”

The victory saw Rublev snap a three-match losing streak against the American in the pair’s first meeting on clay. The 12-time ATP champion is bidding to lift his first Masters 1000 trophy and awaits the winner of Holger Rune and Jannik Sinner.

Rublev led by a break on three occasions in the opening set, including when he served for it at 5-4. Back-to-back forehand winners provided Fritz a 15-30 opening and he capitalized. With his backhand targeted, Rublev fell off one with a late swing up the line to face two break points and then nearly whiffed moments later when his opponent’s deep forehand return came back to that side. Two games later, Fritz dug in to break from 40-15, sealing the one-set advantage after Rublev’s long forehand ended a 15-shot exchange.

“When I went to the bathroom, I get pissed. Throw a couple bottles of water,” Rublev shared while laughing about his trip to the restroom following the first set. “And then I say, ‘Good job, your head is so good. Because of your head again, one more semifinal you lost.’ And then I start to play better.”

Rublev broke Fritz eight times throughout their encounter.

Rublev broke Fritz eight times throughout their encounter.


After letting that out, Rublev regrouped with an immediate break to start set two, and this go around, the Russian ensured his lead was protected. At 2-1, he saved a break point with a scorching inside-in forehand that caught the line. In the following game, Rublev’s deep backhand crosscourt return proved forceful enough to earn a double break.

The No. 5 seed’s improved success on first serve aided in saving all three break points he faced during the set to level the contest. Fritz contributed as well, with his level noticeably dipping—finding just four winners against 17 unforced errors.

After a pair of holds to start the decider, the two competitors traded breaks—Rublev getting back on serve with a backhand winner up the line. Once Rublev held for 3-2, rain forced the players to stop for nearly an hour and 50 minutes.

When the two resumed, light rain and swirling gusts presented difficult conditions. At the end of a taxing 44-shot rally, Rublev easily got up to Fritz’s forehand drop shot. With some help from the wind, he saw what looked to be an overhit backhand up the line land in to break for 4-2. While the No. 8 seed staved off three match points to reach 3-5, Rublev shut the door in the following game.

Both finished in the red on the final stat sheet, though Fritz was much more erratic at -23 (25 winners, 48 unforced errors).