ATP

Rublev and Rune to meet for Monte Carlo title in repeat of Australian Open epic

By Sports Desk April 15, 2023

Andrey Rublev is hoping it will be third time lucky in a Masters 1000 final after setting up a title showdown with Holger Rune in Monte Carlo.

The 25-year-old Russian has 12 tournament wins to his name, but all have come at ATP 500 or ATP 250 level, respectable but lower rungs than this tier.

Rublev lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in Monte Carlo in 2021 and to Alexander Zverev in Cincinnati in the same year, as he failed to capitalise on two chances to break his Masters 1000 duck.

Now comes another opportunity on the clay against teenager Rune on Sunday, after both men ground out tough semi-final comeback wins.

Rublev beat Taylor Fritz 5-7 6-1 6-3, while Rune fought back gallantly to overcome Jannik Sinner 1-6 7-5 7-5, with rain delays affected both matches on Saturday.

Rublev is full of appreciation for Rune's game. They met at the last-16 stage of the Australian Open in January, with Rublev winning a marathon clash in a dizzying final-set tie-break.

Their only other previous clash came indoors at the Paris Masters last November, with Rune taking that third-round match in straight sets and going on to win the title as an unseeded player, beating Novak Djokovic in the final.

Rublev said of Rune: "Holger is the guy who runs a lot, and he runs really well. He read the game really well. He's very talented.

"He has a good touch. He doesn't give you any rhythm, because as soon as he has a chance he tries to do drop shots, he tries to hit full power, goes to the net, returns and goes to the net, then serves to the net.

"He doesn't give you rhythm to put pressure on him to play your style."

Rune sees Rublev as a major threat to his prospects of a second title at this level, but the 19-year-old Dane is not short of self-belief.

"I expect for myself to push full. It's the last push, it's the last match of the tournament," Rune said. "Obviously he had three sets as well, so he must be feeling the legs a little bit, I hope.

"It's going to be great. We've played each other twice. It's one-all head to head, so it's going to be interesting, for sure.

"I've just got to stay in the moment, go for it against the best players in the world, and Andrey has been showing that for many years now, he's been top five, six for many years, so I've got to play my best. I've got to take it, because he's not going to give it to me."

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