Andrey Rublev came out on top in the final group stage match against Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach his first-ever Nitto ATP Finals semi-final. He beat the Greek second seed 3-6 6-3 6-2 in a sensational comeback win, and was proud of the way he dug deep to break his group stage hoodoo. “I didn’t give up, I keep fighting, I keep playing, and in the end I was able to turn it around,” he said.
Andrey Rublev reached the prestigious last four of the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time in his fourth attempt after he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 3-6 6-3 6-2 on Friday evening.
The Russian’s win completed the semi-final line-up, as the 25-year-old joined Novak Djokovic, Taylor Fritz, and his next opponent, Casper Ruud, in the next round.
Tsistipas started strong and controlled the opening set before a fiery Rublev stormed back into the contest in the second.
It was not only a physical battle but a mental test too, as Tsitsipas started to lose concentration and let his form slip which Rublev took full advantage of.
“I didn’t give up,” Rublev replied when asked what he was most satisfied with about the match.
“I keep fighting, I keep playing, I let my emotions out a bit, I showed my emotions after a lost a stupid game, being 40-0 up in the first set, I let my emotions go and I show them.
“But then I just try to say [to myself] keep fighting, keep playing, you still have a chance, you will have a chance at least give your best and in the end I was able to turn it around and I’m super happy to be in semis.”
Rublev will take on third seed Ruud in the next round as the pair lock horns for a place in the final.
It’s a rematch of the 2021 group stage match which eliminated Rublev from the tournament as Ruud progressed.
“I don’t know if it can be different [this time] or not, but I’m really looking forward because Casper is such a nice person inside the court and outside the court,” he said.
“He’s a great player, a great fighter, he achieved so many good things this season so it’s going to be a really, really good challenge for me, so I will do my best and we will see what’s going to happen.”
Tsitsipas showed grit and determination to break Rublev at the second time of asking from deuce to take a 3-1 lead in a game that looked all but lost in the first set.
He consolidated in the next game to take a three-game lead in style, gliding away a volley effortlessly to seal the game to love, before the second seed concluded an excellent first set with a second break at 5-3 after 33 minutes.
Rublev troubled Tsitsipas in the second set with his big service game and humongous forehand and created an opening in the eighth game when he broke the Greek on his second break point to take a 5-3 lead.
The red-hot Russian served to take the tie to a decider, and after an electric start, Tsitsipas clawed his way back into the game as Rublev fell from 30-0 up to a break point down, but got over the line to set up a one-set shoot-out for a spot in the semi-finals.
Rublev struck first blood in the decider as he conjured a beauty of a pass up the line to clock up two break points, one was survived by Tsitsipas before he shanked a forehand off-court.
Tsistipas was noticeably agitated and his form dipped as he cast frustration toward his parents and coaches in the stands, but Rublev utilised the mental game and didn’t allow him to grow back into the game as he did himself in the second set.
He went on to produce clean, powerhouse-hitting strikes across the court as he swatted away any potential nerves, before breaking the Greek with a majestic crosscourt forehand winner to take a 5-2 lead.
Rublev served out the final game to 15 to book him spot in the semi-finals for the first time ever after one hour and 42 minutes.