Russian Andrey Rublev, 6th in the world, won the Monte-Carlo tournament on Sunday by beating Dane Holger Rune (9th) 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 in the final, and thus won his first Masters 1000 title.
“I don’t know what to say… In the third set, at one point I thought I had no more chance of winning,” commented Rublev, who came close to trailing 5-1 in the deciding set before to turn the situation around.
“I don’t know how I did. I tried to play until the end because my last two finals (of Masters 1000) I had given up. This time, I said to myself that even if I had to lose, I had to at least fight until the end,” he added.
Deprived of the flag, the Russian nevertheless took advantage of the support of the public and thanked him for it: “Coming from the country where I come from, to receive such international support, it is enormous”, he launched.
At 25, Rublev won the best title of his career, after playing two finals in this category of tournaments, in Monte-Carlo already, in 2021, and in Cincinnati, the same year.
The two players had faced each other twice: the Dane won last year at the Paris Masters 1000 in the quarter-finals before winning the tournament by beating Novak Djokovic in the final. In January, it was Rublev who won the Australian Open in the round of 16. After saving two match points, he benefited from the help of the net to score the last point.
On Sunday, the match between these two fiery sluggers did not keep all its promises, especially compared to the Australian showdown.
After an exchange of face-offs midway through the first set, Rune won the first set by benefiting from a big unforced error by Rublev on the last game’s break point.
The Russian immediately took the lead in the second set to lead 2-0, but Rune came back to 2-2. In the process, Rublev chained four games to equalize at one set everywhere.
Rune seemed to be on a roll to victory in the third set: he led 3-0 and had a double break point to lead 5-1.
But it was the Russian who lined up three games in a row and then managed the break – taking advantage of the nervousness of his opponent who notably missed two smashes in a row – to lead 6-5 and serve for the match. He gave himself three consecutive match points and concluded with an ace on the second.