Russian Andrey Rublev, 6th in the world, won a slugging match on Friday against German Jan-Lennard Struff (100th) 6-1, 7-6 (7/5) and will return to the semis of the Masters 1000 in Monte-Carlo .
“I started very well, but in the second set he raised his level and I got a little nervous. Fortunately, I regained my composure in the tie break,” commented the 25-year-old Russian.
He will try on Saturday to reach the final by facing the double title holder Stefanos Tsitsipas (3rd) or the American Taylor Fritz (10th).
Rublev had reached the final of the first major clay-court tournament of the season in 2021 by defeating the king of the surface Rafael Nadal in the semis. He then failed against Tsitsipas for the title of this particular edition since it was disputed behind closed doors due to the covid.
Friday under the sun and in front of the public, he put an abrupt end to the very fine course of Struff who, coming from the qualifications, had then chained victories in the main draw by dismissing in particular the Australian Alex de Minaur (19th) in 2nd turn then the Norwegian Casper Ruud (4th), finalist of the last Roland-Garros and US Open.
Completely overwhelmed in the first set, Struff rebalanced the proceedings in the second. And when Rublev managed a white break to break away 4-3, the German immediately recovered at 4-4.
The two players thus arrived at the tie break where Rublev offered himself two consecutive match points: Struff saved the first with a superb winning shot, but he lost on the second.