World no. 15 Andrey Rublev has been one of the players to beat so far in 2020 together with Novak Djokovic, winning two ATP titles and scoring 12 victories in 13 matches. Coming back to Europe after a successful Australia trip, the Russian stormed over Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2, 6-3 in 55 minutes in the first round in Rotterdam, dropping seven points in eight service games and never facing a break point.
On the other hand, he stole half of the return points to deliver four breaks from five opportunities, taming his shots nicely and taking advantage of a way to many unforced errors from the Georgian to race into the last 16.
Andrey broke at love in the first game and moved 5-2 up following a forehand mistake from Nikoloz, closing the opener with three winners in the next game. He had the advantage in set number two as well, moving over the top with a double break in games one and nine for a convincing start.
"I'm really happy with my performance because I didn't play for two weeks after the Australian Open, taking a couple of days off and just practicing. I was a little bit nervous before the tournament, not knowing what to expect, but I played well against such a tough opponent like Nikoloz against whom I played some tough matches in the previous season.
At the moment, the mental aspect of my game looks much better in comparison to 2019; I think I have improved that but we will see. Everything works well for me right now, with many wins and already two titles in 2020; we will see my performance during some bad days on the court because they have to come as well.
We are used to all weather conditions; we don't have a choice and have to play indoor, outdoor, clay, hard, grass; it's a part of our sport. It depends but I think I like to play more outdoor, especially without the wind, but I'm fine with indoor events as well; there are not many of those in the calendar while they bring some advantages too, with no wind or rain delays."