Russian tennis star Andrey Rublev acknowledged it wasn't easy playing against Fabio Fognini in his Toronto Masters opener. Rublev, who is enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 7 in the world, overcame Fognini in straight sets 7-6 (4) 6-3 to reavh the Toronto third round.
Fognini claimed the first break of the match in the sixth game but Rublev broke back in the seventh game. As no more breaks were seen in the first set -- the set went into a tie-break -- in which Rublev realized his first set point to win a tight opener.
Rublev then earned the lone break of the second set in the eighth game, before serving out for the match in the following game. "It’s always super tough against Fabio. He’s super talented and you know how great he can play,” Rublev said in his on-court interview, per the ATP website.
“He’s beaten so many great players, so I knew it was going to be really tough, especially it was my first match and he already played the first round, so he was feeling a bit more comfortable than me”.
Rublev plays John Isner next
“I was a bit tight, but this is normal,” Rublev said.
“Then little by little during the match I started to play better and better, started to find confidence, and in the end I’m happy that I won in straight sets”. During his pre-tournament interview in Toronto, Rublev said winning gold medal in mixed doubles brought him confidence.
"To be honest [winning gold] is an amazing feeling,” Rublev told the ATP Tour. "Especially when you start to understand and realise how big it is, it’s an amazing feeling and it’s a big honour, I’m really thankful."
Rublev achieved his childhood dream by winning a medal. "The feeling was unreal," admitted Rublev shortly after winning gold medal. "[In that moment], you feel release of all your body that was coming since you were a kid.
"Since I was a kid I was watching Olympics on TV, watching the different athletes winning a medal, watching winter games, summer games. I was not even thinking about winning a medal. I was hoping that one day I was going to compete."