Andrey Rublev arrived in Miami with a great form but a mediocre score at the Masters 1000 level, winning only 14 matches and never reaching the semis. The Russian has changed that in the past week, scoring four victories for his first Masters 1000 semi-final appearance!
Andrey toppled Tennys Sandgren, Marton Fucsovics and Marin Cilic to reach the quarters, facing the young American Sebastian Korda in the battle for the last four. Competing at the Masters 1000 level only for the second time in his young career, Korda produced excellent tennis to become the youngest American quarter-finalist in Miami since 2003, giving his best against the better-ranked Rublev but falling 7-5, 7-6 after an hour and 42 minutes.
Andrey delivered better numbers on both the first and second serve, suffering two breaks from as many chances offered to Sebastian and earning three return games that carried him home. The Russian tamed his strokes nicely with 15 winners and 13 unforced mistakes, allowing Korda to hit more winners and errors and overpowering him in the shortest and most extended exchanges to prevail and advance into the last four.
Sebastian saved a break point in the second game with a forehand winner and brought the game home after three deuces to avoid an early setback. Both players served well in the upcoming games, and that all changed at 4-3 for Rublev when Korda sprayed a forehand mistake to experience a break and fall 5-3 behind.
Andrey Rublev prevailed over Sebastian Korda to reach the semi-final in Miami.
Eager to fight, Sebastian broke back at love instantly to prolong the set and his chances before holding at love in 70 seconds to level the score at 5-5.
Starting all over, Andrey held at 15 in game 11 and grabbed a break in the next one following Korda's loose backhand to seize the opener 7-5 after 50 minutes. The first big moment of the second set came in game six when Sebastian played a terrible forehand to suffer a break and move further away from the finish line.
With no room for errors, the 20-year-old pulled the break back at love in the last moment at 3-5 for more drama and excitement. They both served well in the remaining three games to set up a tie break, a must-winning one for the American.
Korda opened a 5-3 advantage with a powerful forehand before spraying a massive mistake from the more substantial wing at 5-4 that would cost him dearly. Sebastian saved a match point at 5-6 and another at 6-7 with a service winner to hang in there.
Still, he hit a double fault in the 15th point and allowed Rublev to seal the deal with an ace a few moments later and remain on the title course.