Andrey Rublev stormed back to his winning ways on Monday against Stefanos Tsitsipas, after serving up a 6-4, 6-4 victory to start his Nitto ATP Finals campaign.
It’s a statement win for Rublev, who arrived in Turin struggling to regain his world-beating form in recent weeks. The Russian, who had lost five of his past seven matches, was at his heavy-hitting best and he didn’t face a break point as he defeated Tsitsipas in an hour and 30 minutes.
“I think these are the moments that we are practising for, that we are living for: to be here and to enjoy this atmosphere, to play great tennis and for the spectators to enjoy,” Rublev said in an on-court interview. “[All] I could do my best today, I did and I’m really happy.”
Rublev Aims To Finish Strong In Turin
Rublev dominated the contest with strong serving. He rained down big first serves all evening long, winning 90 per cent (36/40) of points behind his first delivery – the Russian usually averages around 56 per cent. As a result, he rarely allowed Tsitsipas a look at his vulnerable second serve, and didn’t face a break point across either sets.
“When you serve good, it’s always the key,” Rublev said. “But it was not even just the serve. I was returning really aggressive, from the baseline I was also really aggressive. Today I played a great match and I’m really happy.”
In a pre-tournament interview, Rublev admitted that nerves played a factor in last year’s lacklustre Nitto ATP Finals debut, when he dropped his first two group stages matches – including a defeat to Tsitsipas – before claiming his lone win in London. One year later, Rublev drew from that experience and settled into the match from the first point. The fifth seed broke serve once in each set to claim his revenge against Tsitsipas.
Rublev looked to be enjoying the quicker conditions in Turin – four of his eight career ATP titles have come at similar indoor hard-courts events, including his lone trophy of the season at Rotterdam in March.
The victory for Rublev ties Djokovic at the top of the Green Group, with each player level at a win apiece.