The 22-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev couldn't make the appearance at the ATP Cup, heading to Doha instead and kicking off the season at the ATP 250 event as the 2nd seed and one of the title favorites. Andrey produced rock-solid tennis in all four matches against Mikhail Kukushkin, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Miomir Kecmanovic before a 6-2, 7-6 triumph over Corentin Moutet in the title match, wrapping up the week with a trophy.
The French qualifier toppled the top seed Stan Wawrinka in the semis and advanced into the first ATP final, forging the youngest title match in Doha history with Andrey and giving his best to stay in touch, at least in the second set.
Both players landed above 75% of the first serve in and it was Andrey who drew more from that, facing only two break points and giving serve away once in the second set when he was already a set and a break up. On the other hand, he stole Moutet's serve three times, 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 winners 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. With the momentum 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 it with a service winner a few minutes later that sent him 3-0 in front.
Out of sudden, Corentin found the range behind the initial shot, dropping only eight points in the next five service games and breaking Rublev in game seven thanks to a perfect defense and a smash winner from the more experienced player.
Five powerful holds later, the players were in the tie break and the Russian opened a 4-0 advantage, converting the third match point at 6-3 to celebrate the title and the ranking milestone in what has been a perfect start of the year for him.