The 28th edition of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha finished on Saturday, with the 2nd seed Andrey Rublev defeating a qualifier Corentin Moutet 6-2, 7-6 in an hour and 26 minutes, lifting the third ATP title. It was the youngest final in the history of the tournament and the Frenchman gave his best to make it a memorable one, at least in the second set, spending more than four hours on the court on Friday in the quarter-final and the semi-final.
Moutet was on the verge of defeat against the top seed Stan Wawrinka in the semis, taking a tight second set and dominating in the decider to advance into the first ATP final, standing no chance there against the rock-solid Russian who played on a high level during the entire week.
Both players landed above 75% of the first serve in and Andrey was the one who used that fact more efficiently, facing only two break points and suffering one break in the second set when he was already a set and a break up.
On the other hand, he broke Moutet three times, losing ground a little bit in the second set but doing enough to seal the deal in straight sets and find himself in the top-20 for the first time in a career. The Russian drew first blood in the second game following a volley error from the Frenchman who had to play against two break chances in the fourth game as well, fending them off with strong hitting to remain within one break deficit.
Still, Andrey was too strong in those moments, securing another break in the eighth game for a 6-2 in 31 minutes, gathering momentum ahead of set number two and putting one hand on the trophy. With the drive on his side, the Russian grabbed 13 of the first 16 points in the second set, earning a break in game two after a volley mistake from Moutet and cementing the advantage with a service winner a few minutes later.
Out of sudden, Corentin found the range behind the initial shot, dropping only eight points in the next five service games and stealing Rublev's serve in game seven thanks to a perfect defense and a smash error from the better-ranked player.
Five dominant holds later, the players were in the tie break and the Russian raced into a 4-0 lead, converting the third match point at 6-3 to celebrate the title and the ranking milestone, finding himself in the top-20 for the first time.
After the match, Andrey praised Corentin and his abilities, predicting him a great future if he continues to develop this way and work hard on and off the court. "I know Corentin very well, probably from the U16 junior Davis Cup; he is a very talented player with an amazing approach, quickness and outstanding feeling for the ball. He changes the rhythm so well; I think his future is very bright if he continues to work hard."