Andrey Rublev answers if Roger Federer distracted him

Roger Federer watched tennis in Shanghai on Friday

by Jovica Ilic
Andrey Rublev answers if Roger Federer distracted him
© Lintao Zhang / Staff - Getty Images Sport

A two-time Shanghai Masters champion Roger Federer returned to China this week, receiving an honor and watching matches at Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena on Friday. The 5th seed Andrey Rublev met Roger ahead of his duel, and a 20-time Major winner watched him battling Ugo Humbert in the quarter-final.

Rublev enjoyed seeing Federer in the stands, with the crowd focusing on the legend rather than the encounter. Andrey played a rock-solid match and defeated Ugo 6-2, 6-3 in an hour and a half, remaining the only top-10 player in the draw.

The Russian played better behind the first and second serve, taking the upper hand in the crucial moments and sealing the deal in straight sets. Andrey fired 17 winners and seven unforced errors, taming his strokes nicely and dominating with his forehand.

A better-ranked rival forged the advantage in the shortest and mid-range rallies, defending three out of four break chances and taking half of the return points. Rublev turned them into five breaks from ten chances, controlling the pace and setting the semi-final clash with Grigor Dimitrov.

The Russian denied a break point in the encounter's second game and broke a left-hander in the next one after Ugo's forehand error. The Frenchman struggled behind the initial shot again in the fifth game, getting broken for the second straight time after the Russian's forehand winner.

Andrey served well in games six and eight, wrapping up the opener with a service winner at 5-2. Roger Federer stepped onto the court during the break, receiving an honor and enjoying his time with the crowd. Humbert played another loose service game at 1-1 in the second set to push his rival in front.

Rublev squandered a game chance in the fourth game and lost serve for the only time, bringing his opponent to 2-2. Andrey saved a break point in the sixth game with a smash winner at the net and took charge in the remaining games.

Rublev caused Humbert's error in the seventh game to secure a break and move in front, cementing it with a hold and forcing the rival to serve to stay in the match. Ugo experienced another break in the ninth game, propelling Andrey over the finish line and into the last four.

"No, Roger did not distract me at all. All the spectators were focused on him, not our match; they stopped following the duel," Andrey Rublev said.

Andrey Rublev Roger Federer