Two years ago, Andrey Rublev reached the quarterfinals at the US Open to assert himself as one of the future names to watch. A slew of injuries sidelined his progression on and off over next two seasons, but the 21-year-old is in the midst of a resurgent summer.
Having defeated Roger Federer en route to the Cincinnati quarterfinals, Rublev is now back in the second week at Flushing Meadows, getting up for a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over Washington D.C. champion Nick Kyrgios in Saturday’s second night-session match on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“He’s such a talented guy. We know how he can play great. His serve is the best for sure on tour,” Rublev told Tom Rinaldi on-court afterwards. “I was trying to focus on me, to serve also well. Then I said, if I lose tiebreaks, I lose tiebreaks. If I win, perfect. In the end, today it was my day and I’m happy.”
While Kyrgios muttered lines such as, “I don’t even want to be here, bro. I just want to go home” and “Call Of Duty has ruined me”, Rublev kept his head down, holding court on serve to keep pace with the rising ace count off the Australian’s racquet. Kyrgios unleashed 30 aces, but other shots, like his backhand down the line, were absent when he needed supplementary methods to win crucial points. He squandered a 4-0 lead in the second set tiebreaker, and his demeanor soon turned to deflation.
Rublev, who fired 12 aces of his own while holding in all of his service games, avenged his 2018 defeat in St. Petersburg—the pair’s only previous encounter. Unseeded, the Russian will look to match his 2017 run when he takes on 24th seed Matteo Berrettini. The Italian defeated Alexei Popyrin, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (2).
Kyrgios is still in the men’s doubles event with Marius Copil, but the future of his 2019 season remains to be seen. Earlier in the week, he declared the ATP as being “pretty corrupt” on Twitter after receiving a record $113,000 fine for his on-court behavior in a Cincinnati defeat to Karen Khachanov. Kyrgios later deleted the post and clarified his comments.
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