2021 in Review: Andrey Rublev matches Rafael Nadal after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas

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2021 in Review: Andrey Rublev matches Rafael Nadal after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas

Andrey Rublev was one of the players to beat in 2020, winning 41 matches and cracking the top-10 for the first time. The Moscow native was off to a great start in 2021, scoring eight consecutive victories at the ATP Cup and the Australian Open before losing the quarter-final encounter at Melbourne Park to Daniil Medvedev.

Returning to Europe, Andrey extended his ATP 500 winning streak to 19, matching Rafael Nadal's record and trailing only to Roger Federer and Andy Murray at this level of competition since 2009. Rublev conquered Hamburg, St.

Petersburg and Vienna at the end of 2020 and grabbed four victories in Rotterdam to advance into the tenth ATP final and the sixth since Doha 2020. In the semis, Andrey took down Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6 in an hour and 38 minutes, scoring his third victory over the Greek and setting the title clash against Marton Fucsovics.

Andrey Rublev became the fourth player with 19 consecutive ATP 500 wins since 2009.

Rublev was the more aggressive player, hitting 34 winners and 14 unforced errors and leaving Tsitsipas on a 16-13 ratio. Andrey saved all five break chances and forced Stefanos to follow that pace if he wanted to stay competitive.

The Greek played against three break points and got broken twice in the opener before the Russian sealed the deal in the second set's tie break. Andrey forged the advantage with a break in the opener's third game following Tsitsipas' double fault and erased a break chance in the next one to consolidate at 3-1.

Stefanos forced the opponent's error in game five to save a break chance and avoid an even more significant deficit before squandering an opportunity on the return in the next one when his forehand landed wide. Serving at 4-3, Andrey fended off three break chances and broke at love at 5-3 to wrap up the opener in 45 minutes and gain a boost.

Both players served well in set number two, keeping the returners away from break chances and setting a tie break, a must-win one for Tsitsipas. Rublev opened it with a forehand winner and moved 2-0 up when Tsitsipas netted a forehand.

The Greek sprayed another forehand mistake in the fifth point to fall 4-1 behind before Andrey emerged at the top with two winners at 5-2. Thus, the Russian matched Rafael Nadal on 19 consecutive ATP 500 wins since 2009, with only Roger Federer and Andy Murray standing ahead.