Andrey Rublev stopped giant-killer Lorenzo Sonego in the final of Vienna on Sunday, 6-4, 6-4, to not only win his fifth ATP title of the year, but also to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time.
He’s now won more ATP titles than anyone this year, surpassing Novak Djokovic.
"I'm happy that I won the title here. I'm happy that I will compete in London for the first time," Rublev said. "There are still so many things I need to improve, and it's going to be a good challenge for me to see what exactly I need to improve to be at that level, to compete against the top eight players."
Sonego, who had gotten into the main draw as a lucky loser, was having the tournament of his life, taking out the No. 1-ranked Djokovic in a 68-minute quarterfinal stunner on Friday night, 6-2, 6-1. He then followed that up with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Dan Evans in Saturday's semifinals.
But the No. 8-ranked Rublev was on his game from start to finish on Sunday afternoon. He broke for an early 3-2 lead on a missed inside-out forehand from Sonego, then rode that break to the first set. After eight straight holds to start the second set, he broke Sonego again at 4-all then served it out, clinching a one-hour, 18-minute win on a big serve that the Italian couldn’t get back in the court.
Rublev finished with almost twice as many winners as unforced errors, 23 to 13, and more than half of his winners—12—came on his forehand side. He also had five backhand winners and six aces.
The Russian has now won more ATP titles than anyone this year with five, and that includes three ATP 500-level titles in the last six weeks—he won a pair of ATP 500s right before and right after Roland Garros, in Hamburg and St. Petersburg. He also tied Djokovic for most match wins in 2020—he’s now 39-7, while the Serbian is 39-3. No one else on the men’s tour even has 30 match wins on the year.
And perhaps most significantly, Rublev is the seventh man to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, after Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev.
Rublev has now won 19 of his last 20 matches, his only loss in the last six weeks coming to Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros. He had beaten the Greek 10 days earlier in the final of Hamburg.
Meanwhile, with his run to the final this week, Sonego—who came into Vienna at a career-high of No. 42—will jump 10 spots to a new career-high of No. 32 on Monday. Rublev will remain at No. 8.
Both the Russian and the Italian are playing the Masters 1000 event in Paris this coming week.