ATP Vienna: Andrey Rublev moves closer to Novak Djokovic. Denis Shapovalov bows out

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ATP Vienna: Andrey Rublev moves closer to Novak Djokovic. Denis Shapovalov bows out

The 23-year-old Andrey Rublev has been the player to beat alongside Novak Djokovic since the season restart, winning 20 matches and lifting two ATP trophies, backed by two Major quarter-finals! Andrey won the fourth title of the season in St.

Petersburg, hoping for another strong ATP 500 run in Vienna against the most powerful rivals. The Russian made a winning start in the Austrian capital, ousting a qualifier Dennis Novak 6-3, 6-2 in an hour for the season's 35th victory.

Andrey fired 23 winners and ten unforced errors, landing 11 aces and dropping ten points in nine service games, never facing a break point. Gombos couldn't match those numbers, getting broken thrice and hitting the exit door after nine winners and 16 unforced mistakes.

Andrey held at 15 in the first game with a service winner, converting the second break chance in game two with a forehand winner to forge an early advantage. Rublev landed four service winners in the third game to confirm the advantage before Gombos grabbed his first game to reduce the deficit and get his name on the scoreboard.

The Russian hit another unreturned serve in the fifth game to remain in front, producing another comfortable hold at 4-2 to extend the lead and force Norbert to serve for staying in the set after 23 minutes. The Slovak held at love to extend the set before Andrey brought it home with a service winner in game nine, wrapping up the opener in 29 minutes.

The 5th seed grabbed a break at 15 in the third game of the second set and held with a forehand winner top open a 6-3, 3-1 gap. Rublev placed three aces down the T line in the sixth game and broke Gombos at 15 with a volley winner, moving 5-2 in front and serving for the victory.

With no sign of nerves, the Russian painted two backhand down the line winners to seal the deal in style and advance into the last 16 in no time.

Andrey Rublev earned the 35th victory of the season in the first round in Vienna.

The 8th seed Denis Shapovalov suffered a tough 6-4, 7-5 loss to Jurij Rodionov in an hour and 27 minutes.

It was the second ATP win for the Austrian, who lost serve only once against his coeval and grabbed three breaks when it mattered the most to seal the deal in straight sets. Rodionov tamed his strokes nicely, hitting the same number of winners and unforced errors while Shapovalov counted to more than 30 mistakes, spraying ten double faults to plague his chances.

From 4-2 down, Jurij grabbed four straight games to claim the opening set 6-4 and gain momentum. There were no break chances in the first 11 games of the second set, with Shapovalov sending a forehand long a few minutes later to suffer a break at love and hand the triumph to his rival.