ATP Adelaide: Andrey Rublev tops Felix Auger-Aliassime after epic battle

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ATP Adelaide: Andrey Rublev tops Felix Auger-Aliassime after epic battle
ATP Adelaide: Andrey Rublev tops Felix Auger-Aliassime after epic battle (Provided by Tennis World USA)

An in-form Russian Andrey Rublev will seek the second title of the season from as many tournaments, beating Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 after an incredible battle at the Memorial Drive Tennis Centre. Two of the most talented youngsters fought for just under three hours, pushing each other to the limits all the time and fending off 17 out of 20 break chances to stay neck and neck from start to finish.

Felix gave his 120% in the quest for the fourth ATP final, blasting 56 winners and 54 unforced errors to act as the more aggressive player on the court. The Canadian saved eight out of ten break chances but that wasn't enough to cross the finish line first, repelling two match points in the second set before wasting a massive advantage in the decider to push Andrey towards the victory.

The Russian had 31 winners and 26 unforced errors, saving nine out of ten break points and keeping his focus on a high level despite some tough moments at the end of the second and beginning of the third set. Felix erased a break point in the opening game of the match with an ace, doing the same at 3-3 with a smash winner and creating his first opportunities in the next game that could have sent him 5-3 up.

Andrey defended three break chances to remain on the positive side of the scoreboard, with both serving well in the remaining games to set up a tie break that Rublev claimed 7-5 following a forehand error from Felix. The second set offered more drama and excitement, with 11 break points up for grabs in five different games.

With no room for mistakes, Auger-Aliassime survived four of those in the eighth game and had his chances to move in front in the next game when Rubev had to play against three break points. The Russian stayed strong to make a vital hold, keeping the pressure on Felix and earning a match point at 6-5 on the return.

The Canadian saved it with a service winner to reach the tie break where he landed another great serve at 6-7, defending the second match point and taking the breaker 9-7 thanks to a smash winner that gave him a massive boost after two hours and 16 minutes of a thrilling contest.

With the momentum on his side, Felix claimed 12 of the first 15 points of the deciding set and broke Andrey after a costly double fault. Ready to fight until the end, Rublev broke back at love in game five and saved a break chance in the eighth game to stay in touch and grab a reward in the next game when he broke Felix to move 5-4 in front.

Serving for the win in the tenth game, Andrey held at 30 after a smash error from Felix, sealing the deal and delivering the 11th straight victory. In the battle of the qualifiers born in 1997, Lloyd Harris took down Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 to advance into the first ATP final in a career.

The match lasted for two hours and eight minutes and it was Lloyd who had the upper hand in sets he won, getting broken twice and securing four on the other side to propel himself into the battle for the trophy on Saturday.

Harris grabbed two breaks in the opener for a 6-4 before Paul bouncing back in set number two, opening a 4-1 lead and taking it in the tie break to force a decider. There, Lloyd dropped only six points behind the serve, breaking Paul in game four and sealing the deal with a hold at 5-3 to stay on the title course.

Andrey Rublev Felix Auger-aliassime Lloyd Harris