Rising Russian Aslan Karatsev continued his surprising start to the season as on Friday he surprised No. 2 seed Andrey Rublev to make the Dubai final. Karatsev, ranked at No. 42 in the world, needed three sets to overcome world No.
8 Rublev 6-2 4-6 6-4 and make his maiden final in Dubai. The two players were tied at 2-2 in the opening set before Karatsev claimed back-to-back breaks to win the opener. Rublev earned his first break of the match in the 10th game of the second set to force a decider.
In the third set, Rublev got one break back and reduced the deficit to 5-4 but Karatsev made no mistake while serving second time for the match. “It was a really tight match [against a] tough opponent,” Karatsev said in an on-court interview, per the ATP website.
“It was an unbelievable performance [from Andrey]. He didn’t lose a match at an ATP 500 in [one year]. Everything was decided in one or two points, I feel happy”.
Karatsev ends Rublev's streak
Rublev's streak of 23 consecutive wins at the ATP 500 level has come to an end.
"There is no secret [to my streak]. It just happened… I was not focused on this. It just happened that I did good in these [ATP 500] weeks and I am really happy,” said Rublev, after beating Fritz in Dubai.
“We will see what is going to happen. Until [the media] started to write that I won 17 matches, 18 matches, 19 matches, I was not even realising that I did this. I am realising it now… I am really happy that it happened to me.
I am really happy that I achieved something that Andy did, because it is not easy." Karatsev plays Lloyd Harris in the Dubai final. “I will prepare myself mentally and physically, and then we will see what happens tomorrow,” said Karatsev. “I know [Lloyd] is a good player with experience”.