The third was the good one: after two lost finals, the Russian Andrey Rublev won his first Masters 1000 by winning the final in Monte-Carlo on Sunday against the formidable Dane Holger Rune 5-7, 6-2, 7-5.
He was not entitled to his flag around the Rainier III court like all the other competitors, but he had the support of the public. To the point of being moved and emphasizing it.
“Coming from the country where I come from, to receive such international support, it’s enormous”, launched the 25-year-old Russian to the address of the public who loudly supported and cheered him.
A few minutes earlier, he had collapsed on the ground after having had confirmation that his ace had offered him his dream, a first major trophy being added to the twelve, less gleaming, already on his record.
“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 nearly trailed 5-1 in the deciding set before to turn the situation around.
“I don’t know how I did it. I tried to play until the end because in my last two finals (of Masters 1000) I had given up. This time, I said to myself that even if I had to lose, at least I had to fight until the end,” he added.
In 2021, Rublev had reached the finals of the Masters 1000 in Monte-Carlo and then Cincinnati. Both times, he had lost quite brutally, respectively against Stefanos Tsitsipas (6-3, 6-3) and Alexander Zverev (6-2, 6-3).
– “You deserve it” –
So Sunday, at the time of the thanks, he was clearly under the influence of a very strong emotion which made him confuse the wife of Prince Albert II, Charlène, and the president of the Monte-Carlo Country Club. “Excuse me, you know I can be a bit silly…”, launched the lucky winner.
Thanks to this victory, he also remains in sixth place in the world (he rose to 5th place in the ATP in 2021), while his opponent, who will celebrate his 20th birthday on April 29, climbs to seventh. rank, the best ranking of his young career.
The match itself was much smoother than expected between two fiery players.
Especially since they remained on an epic showdown in the round of 16 at the Australian Open in January. Rublev had won the super tie break of the fifth set: after saving two match points, he had benefited from the help of the net to score the last point.
On Sunday, 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 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 plays and then made the break — taking advantage of his opponent’s nervousness, who notably missed two smashes in a row — to lead 6-5 and serve to win the game. part. He gave himself three consecutive match points and concluded with an ace on the second.
Having stepped over the net to pick up his winner of the day, Rune then congratulated him: “It’s your first Masters 1000 and you deserve it”.