World No. 7 Andrey Rublev insisted he was preparing himself for a tough battle against 85th-ranked Henri Laaksonen. Rublev, seeded at No. 2, entered the match as a big favorite to beat qualifier Laaksonen. The match went as expected as Rublev claimed a 6-4 6-4 win to reach the Rotterdam round-of-16.
Laaksonen was beaten by Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open first round. Rublev asked Medvedev if he had any tips on how to play Laaksonen. “I didn’t know what to expect from Henri,” Rublev said after the match, according to the ATP Tour website.
“I know how tough he is because he had some great matches and great wins against great players. Even in Australia, he lost to [Daniil] Medvedev first round, and after the match Daniil told me he was super tough to play against.
I didn’t know which level to expect, so I needed to analyse a bit. I’m happy with my performance and I’m happy with the way I was playing today”.
Rublev taking it match by match
Rublev won his first Rotterdam title last year after beating Marton Fucsovics in the final.
“I just try to focus match by match,” Rublev insisted. “This tournament is super tough, you have so many great players." Rublev made a posiitve start to the match against Laaksonen, having claimed the first break of the match in the seventh game.
Laaksonen had a chance to get the break back in the 10th game but Rublev saved a break point before realizing his second set point to win the first set. After winning the first set, Rublev broke Laaksonen in the third game of the second set.
Rublev thne routinely held on to his serve the rest of the way to book a straight-set win. Rublev now awaits the winner of the match between Hugo Gaston and Sonwoo Kwon.