ATP Hamburg: Andrey Rublev downs Casper Ruud for second consecutive final



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ATP Hamburg: Andrey Rublev downs Casper Ruud for second consecutive final

The 22-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev is through to his seventh ATP final and the second in a row in Hamburg. The two-time ATP champion from 2020 will try to go one step further than a year ago at the prestigious ATP 500 event, facing Stefanos Tsitsipas in the title clash on Sunday.

In the semis, Andrey defeated an in-form Norwegian Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 25 minutes, won the battle of the mighty forehands and scored the 24th victory of the season. Rublev had 26 winners and 20 unforced errors, controlling the pace with accurate and precise groundstrokes and leaving the Rome semi-finalist on 12 winners and 19 mistakes.

The Russian got broken twice and dominated on the return, stealing 53% of Casper's serve to earn five breaks from eight opportunities. The opening set offered deuces in five games and Ruud had a chance to prolong it, wasting chances in game eight and losing ground after that to propel Andrey into the final.

Casper sent a forehand long to offer Andrey a break chance in the first game, saving it after a forced error from the Russian and hitting well in the remaining two points for a hold and his name on the scoreboard. Rublev grabbed the second game after deuce and drew first blood in the third game with a smash winner at the net that sent him 2-1 in front.

The Russian repeated that smash winner to secure a break in game four and move 3-1 in front, creating two more break opportunities in the next one. Casper repelled those with winners, bringing the game home to remain within one break deficit.

The Norwegian broke back with a return winner to level the score at 3-3, getting back on the right side of the scoreboard but not for a long. Leaving the previous one behind him, Rublev grabbed a break in game seven with a perfect counter-drop shot, fended off two break chances with winners in game eight and fired three winners at 5-4 to wrap up the opener.

Andrey Rublev reached the second consecutive Hamburg final, beating Casper Ruud.

With the momentum on his side, Rublev forced an error from Ruud in the first game of the second set, grabbed a break and saved a break chance with a service winner in game two to move a set and a break up.

The Russian landed a perfect backhand down the line winner to secure another break and open a 3-0 gap, hitting a double fault in the next game to suffer a break and keep Casper alive. They held at love in games five and six before Rublev painted another backhand down the line winner for a break at love in game seven and moved over the top with a forehand winner on his serve in the next one to march over the top and advance into the final. Picture credit: Hamburg European Open/Alexander Scheuber