The seven-time Cincinnati champion Roger Federer failed to reach the quarter-final at one of his favorite events last year for the first time since 2008, losing to a qualifier Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-4 in 61 minutes! A former junior no.
1 and one of the biggest talents of the new generation, Rublev suffered a nasty back injury in the spring of 2018, staying away from the court for a couple of months and losing the momentum and ranking positions, having to start all over in 2019 and doing more than a fine job.
The young Russian advanced to the first Masters 1000 quarter-final, outplaying the Swiss in almost every department to control the scoreboard and deliver a career-best victory that gave him a massive boost. Dropping 15 points in ten service games, Rublev fended off two out of three break points and stole 40% of the return points for three breaks that carried him over the top in quick fashion.
Firing 17 winners and six unforced errors, Andrey tamed his shots nicely to leave Roger behind despite 20 winners and 19 mistakes from a former champion. The Swiss never found the rhythm on the return or from his backhand, missing another chance to lift the first Cincinnati trophy since 2015.
Landing one bold stroke after another, Rublev took charge in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, outplaying Roger 43-34, which is never easy. The Russian also had a 16-10 lead in the more extended exchanges, sealing the deal in style and advancing into the last eight.
Andrey broke at 15 in the second game following a loose backhand from Federer, giving serve away in the next game when his forehand landed long.
Last year, Andrey Rublev defeated Roger Federer in two quick sets in Cincinnati.
Determined to give his best, Rublev fired a forehand winner to secure a break and open a 3-1 lead.
A service winner pushed the youngster 5-2 up, closing the opener with three winners in game nine for a 6-3 after 28 minutes. Federer never found the desired pace in the return games, taking only four points in Andrey's games in set number two to drift away from the break chances and play under pressure.
The Swiss brought the fifth game home with a service winner before Andrey broke him at 3-3 thanks to a deep return, forging the advantage and taking a massive step towards the finish line. Rublev confirmed the break with a hold at 15, serving for the triumph at 5-4.
Showing no sign of nerves, Andrey held at 15 after forcing an error from Roger to emerge as the winner and wrap up one of his finest performances on the Tour.