Andrey Rublev is two wins away from capturing his first Masters 1000 title, and perhaps no player deserves it more. The Russian has been a model of consistency and ferocity for the past 15 months, earning effusive praise from all his competitors.
“I hope I don’t play you anymore this season,” Marton Fucsovics told Rublev after losing to him for the second time in a month in Dubai.
Unfortunately for the Hungarian, they played the very next week in Miami’s third round. Unsurprisingly, Rublev beat him a third-straight time, 6-2, 6-1. In the past 15 months, Rublev is an incredible 61-13 with a tour-leading six ATP titles.
Hubert Hurkacz—who upset Denis Shapovalov, Milos Raonic and Stefanos Tsitsipas in his last three matches—stands in the way of Rublev’s first Masters 1000 final berth, but don’t expect another upset. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Rublev is listed as a -420 favorite and projected to win by four total games.
Hurkacz, who trains in Florida with coach Craig Boynton, is a perfect 8-0 in the Sunshine State this season, but has yet to play a night match. That will change on Friday, and Rublev will surely benefit from the slower, less physical conditions.
Hurkacz is an exceptional defender, and covers an incredible amount of ground for someone his size.
But the Pole will need a lot more than big serving and court coverage to trouble Rublev. According to Marcos Giron, who faced Rublev in Rotterdam, his forehand is unlike anything he’s ever seen. “His forehand is wild, he doesn’t give up any ground on the baseline, but somehow he’s able to open up the court at the same time, it’s crazy.”
This is exactly what Giron meant. Rublev created an opening with this on-the-rise forehand, from right on top of the baseline.
Unless Rublev battles a serious case of nerves as he attempts to reach yet another milestone, there is no argument in picking Hurkacz to pull off the upset. Expect the relentless Russian to advance, and cover his four game spread in the process.
The Pick: Andrey Rublev