World No. 7 Andrey Rublev scored the biggest win of his career on Saturday, battling back from a set down to beat No. 2-ranked countryman Daniil Medvedev, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, and move through to the final of the Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati.

He had been 0-5 against Medvedev going into the match, and 0-12 in sets.

“It’s always tough to play against Daniil, and to beat him gives me more confidence that I can compete against him,” an elated Rublev said after the match.

“There’s still so many things to improve, but it’s like you pass university—they give you the diploma, and now you passed university.”

Given their head-to-head history against each other, it looked like it was going to be an uphill battle for Rublev from the beginning—and after just 38 minutes on court, Medvedev had the opening set of this encounter in his pocket, too.

The momentum started shifting early in the second set, though. Not only did Medvedev have a run-in with an on-court videocamera during the third game—after which he took a medical time-out, where the physio worked on his left hand—but Rublev began cutting back on his unforced errors in a big way, and started holding serve more comfortably. After seven holds to start the set, Rublev broke in a marathon game for 5-3 and served the second set out after 59 minutes.

The early goings were close in the third set too, but after six straight holds Rublev pounced again, breaking for 4-3—he then held for 5-3 and broke one last time to close out the biggest win of his career after two hours and 21 minutes.

Before his win over the No. 2-ranked Medvedev, Rublev’s biggest wins were four wins over No. 3s, against Roger Federer at Cincinnati in 2019, Dominic Thiem at Vienna and the ATP Finals in 2020, and Rafael Nadal at Monte Carlo earlier this year.

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Medvedev was on an eight-match winning streak going into the semifinals and had won 18 of his last 20 matches, too.

Medvedev was on an eight-match winning streak going into the semifinals and had won 18 of his last 20 matches, too.

“Even when the score was 6-2, I was thinking the score shouldn’t be like this,” Rublev said afterwards. “The points were so tight, it was just some little mistakes, some good shots from Daniil. Even the third set, it was 6-3, but the match was so intense, you could see so many rallies, so many long rallies. It was super tough.

“Super mental match, super physical match—just like a chess match.”

As the match went on, Rublev’s numbers got better and better. In the first set he had 3 winners to 18 unforced errors, but across the next two sets he had 19 to 21.

“Daniil is a player who will not give you many chances to attack. If I have enough power and choose the right moment, I have to make him run,” Rublev added.

“In the end, I was trying to find the perfect moments to be aggressive.”

The Russian is now through to his second career Masters 1000 final. His first came at Monte Carlo earlier this year on clay, where he finished runner-up to Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-3, 6-3. He’s 8-4 in his career in ATP finals at all levels.

Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev meet in the second semifinal on Saturday night.