Andrey Rublev’s 2020 Breakthrough Means Nothing, Says Former No.1 Safin - UBITENNIS
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Andrey Rublev’s 2020 Breakthrough Means Nothing, Says Former No.1 Safin

The two-time Grand Slam winner has issued a harsh reality check to the world No.8.

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Too much shouldn’t be read into Andrey Rublev’s performance on the ATP Tour this season, according to the last Russian man to hold the world No.1 ranking.

 

Marat Safin has poured cold water over the achievements of his compatriot who has won more titles in 2020 than any other player on the ATP Tour. 23-year-old Rublev has won two 250 and three 500 tournaments within the past 12 months. An achievement that helped elevate him to a ranking high of eighth in the world and secured his first appearance at the ATP Finals earlier this month.

Although Safin, who worked alongside Rublev in January when he captained the Russian team at the ATP Cup, believes that no significant breakthrough has occurred because he hasn’t won what he describes as a big tournament.

“Do his victories this year mean anything? If truth be told, it doesn’t mean anything. He won five tournaments, but these are not “Masters”, these are not “Grand Slam”. Novak won less but finished first (in the world rankings),” he said.

Rublev reached the quarter-finals of both the French Open and US Open this year, making it the first time he has done so within the same season. In the Masters 1000 events, his best run was to the third round in Paris where he lost to Stan Wawrinka.

“Andrey needs to switch and play in major tournaments,” said Safin.
“He can beat many, you need to go to the semi-finals and the Grand Slam finals to be in the top three.”

Safin’s views are one that he had himself during his career. When questioned about his decision to step away from the sport at the age of 29, he said he did so because he wasn’t prepared to be second fiddle to the Big Three. During the later stages of his career he was also blighted by a knee issue.

Despite the criticism, he insists that there is no conflict between them and they are ‘constantly in touch’ with each other. Joking that he needs to give the world No.8 a ‘slap on his head’ for losing a tightly contested match against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Finals.

“He knows himself that he has let go. He has a rich arsenal, good physics, light on his feet. He understands what I’m talking about,” Safin explained during his evaluation of Rublev’s game.
“Andrey needs to learn not to break down in stressful situations. In general, many people do not understand what professional sports are. The sport of elite achievement is not about learning to hit with different hands and go to play, but how long you can withstand a stressful situation.”

Two-time Grand Slam champion Safin ended his career with 27 ATP titles.

Rublev’s 2020 season in numbers

2 – two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist
4 – wins over top 10 players
5 – number of ATP titles won
35 – has won 35 out of 36 matches after claiming the first set
41 – number of wins overall
$2,169,487 – prize money won

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John Isner upsets Andrey Rublev to reach quarterfinals in Madrid

John Isner is into the Madrid quarter-finals after a last set tiebreak win over Andrey Rublev.

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John Isner (@atptour - Twitter)

The American once again needed three sets and two tiebreakers to earn a top 10 scalp.

 

John Isner booked his spot in the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open by upsetting the number six seed Andrey Rublev 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 in two hours and five minutes hitting 43 winners and 29 aces in the win.

“I’ve always served well, the conditions for the server are fantastic, physically I was heavy-legged today, I finished late last night, the good thing is I finished a bit earlier today and I should be ready to go tomorrow, I’m going to need all of my legs tomorrow against Dominic (Thiem) and I’m looking forward to it for sure”.

The first set was pretty routine and we didn’t see a single break of serve the entire set as the first set would be decided by a tiebreaker. That’s where the American ran away with it jumping out to a 4-0 lead playing some great tennis and he would take it 7-4 to win the first set 7-6.

The Russian was keen to get back in the match in the second set and earned the first two breakpoints of the match at 1-1 and broke to take an early 2-1 lead. That break was all the number six seed needed to serve out the second set taking it 6-3 and setting up a deciding third set.

The number six seed once again had the first break opportunity of the third set but it was immediately saved with the big booming serve from the Greensboro, North Carolina native. That was the only breakpoint of the set and once again the match would be decided by a tiebreaker.

This one was much more closer and we didn’t see a break of serve until 4-3 when the American returned the Russian serve with a powerful forehand to take a 5-3 lead.

He would go on to serve it out to win the match and set up a quarterfinal encounter with the Austrian Domenic Them and he spoke about the matchup in his post-match press conference.

“He’s fresh, he’s won two matches and I think he is the second-best clay courter right now so it’s going to be a very tough task for me tomorrow especially on this court because he hits the ball so big and pretty fast and he does so many things well and I am going to have to play extremely well if I want any chance to beat him”

Theim currently holds a 2-1 lead in the head to head and their most recent meeting was back in 2017 in Laver Cup on an indoor hardcourt when the Austrian won in three sets.

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Christian Garin reaches his second career Masters 1000 quarter final in Madrid

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Chile’s Christian Garin has reached his second Masters 1000 quarter final with a 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 win over world number 3 Danil Medvedev at the Madrid Mutua Open. 

 

Garin earned an early break after a loose service game from Medvedev at 1-1. The second set went on serve with no breaks of serve en route to the tie-break. Medvedev cruised through to a 7-3 win with two mini-breaks. Garin broke twice in the fourth and sixth games to claim the third set 6-1. 

Garin will face either this year’s Serbian Open champion Matteo Berrettini or Federico Delbonis. The Chilean player is tied at 1-1 in his two head-to-head matches against Berrettini and won his only previous match against Delbonis en route to last year’s title at the Rio Open. Garin won all his five titles on clay in Houston and Munich in 2019, Rio de Janeiro and Cordoba in 2020 and Santiago de Chile in 2021.

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Jannik Sinner Vows To ‘Come Back Stronger’ After Madrid Misfortune

The 19-year-old believes his latest loss will help him grow as a player.

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Italian rising star Jannik Sinner has revealed that he was suffering from an allergy during his latest match at the Madrid Open but has insisted it wasn’t the reason for his loss.

 

The world No.18 crashed out of the tournament in straight sets on Wednesday to Australia’s Alexi Popyrin. A player ranked 57 places lower than him who has reached the third round of a Masters tournament for only the second time in his career. The Italian struggled behind his second serve where he won just 41% of the points. A frustrating outcome for Sinner who led the match 5-3 before losing 6-7(5), 2-6.

“I suffer from allergy and here there is a lot of pollen, I also play with contact lenses and everything. This bothered me a lot,” said Sinner who was coughing throughout the match.
I suffered more because there was more sun and in that field (court) he entered easily, but I did not lose for this (reason). He played better than me.”

The 19-year-old has recently broken into the world’s top 20 following what has been a solid start to the season. At the Miami Open he became only the fourth teenager in history to reach the final after Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. On the clay he recently reached the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Despite his disappointment in Madrid, Sinner is hoping that it will help him become an even better playing in the coming weeks heading into the French Open. A Grand Slam which he reached the quarter-finals at on his debut last year.

“This defeat helps me to grow, now I go to the court to work to be at the top for the next match. I’ll come back stronger than before,” he stated.

Sinner will be hoping to get back on track next week when plays his home tournament at the Italian Open. He made his Rome debut back in 2019 where he defeated Steve Johnson in the first round before going out. A year later he reached the third round before losing to Grigor Dimitrov in three sets.

As for Popyrin, he will face a showdown against top seed Rafael Nadal in Thursday.

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