ATP Dubai: Andrey Rublev scores first win over Alexander Zverev
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 4068
The defending Dubai champion Andrey Rublev is back in the title clash in the desert. Andrey took down his great friend Alexander Zverev 6-3, 7-6 in an hour and 58 minutes in the semi-final. Thus, the Russian beat the German for the first time since August 2013, when they were still juniors.
Zverev played his best tournament since that nasty injury at the last year's Roland Garros. However, it was not enough to advance to the final, getting broken three times in the opening set and wasting a set point in the second set's tie break.
Andrey stayed calm in the decisive moments and will play against Daniil Medvedev or Novak Djokovic on Saturday's final. Zverev served at 80% and fired 12 aces. However, he should have produced better numbers behind the initial shot, dropping 40% of the points and losing serve three times in the opener.
Rublev defended the first and second serve nicely, suffering a break in the opener after already being in front and mounting the pressure on the other side.
Andrey Rublev defeated Alexander Zverev after five consecurive losses.
The German made a terrible start and wasted game points in the encounter's first game.
Alexander hit a double fault on Andrey's third break chance to push the rival in front after an 11-minute game. Rublev held at love in game two and built a 40-15 advantage at 2-1. Still, Zverev climbed back and grabbed a break when the defending champion missed a backhand.
Instead of building on that, Alexander placed a backhand long in the fifth game to experience another break and send Andrey 3-2 ahead. The Russian held at love in game six for 4-2 and closed the eighth game at love after a service winner to move 5-3 up.
Rublev returned in game nine and painted a forehand crosscourt winner to wrap up the opener after 46 minutes. Both players served well in the second set's opening eight games to stay locked at 4-4. Andrey clinched the ninth game after two deuces, and Alexander closed the next one at 15 for 5-5 and more drama.
The German squandered two game points at 5-6 and faced a match point after a loose forehand. Zverev saved it with a forehand winner and brought the game home to introduce a tie break. Alexander sprayed a forehand error at 4-4 and lost the tenth point to face two match points.
He denied the first and cracked a backhand crosscourt return winner at 5-6 to prolong the duel. Zverev denied the fourth match point at 6-7 with a booming serve and created a set point. He sprayed a routine forehand error and faced the fifth match point at 8-9.
Rublev squandered it with a loose backhand but created the sixth at 10-9. The Russian seized it with a forehand winner and delivered his first professional victory over his former junior doubles partner.