Russian tennis star Andrey Rublev admitted he didn't play his best tennis against Tommy Paul but he was happy that he managed to survive an early scare in Madrid. Rublev, seeded at No. 6, overcame world No. 58 Paul in three sets 6-7 (5) 6-3 6-4 to reach the Madrid Masters third round.
"It’s important to win when you’re not [playing] your [best] game and things are not going well," Rublev said on-court, as quoted on the ATP website. "So it’s really important to win this match to have more confidence.
I’m happy that I turned it around."
Rublev came from a set down against Paul
Rublev claimed the first break of the match in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead but got broken back in the eighth game. Rublev then broke Paul in the ninth and 11th game but got broken back in the 10th and 12th game as the set went into a tie-break.
Rublev led 5-1 in the tie-break but even that wasn't enough as Paul won six consecutive points to steal the opener. After blowing a big lead in the first set, Rublev bounced back well as he broke Paul in the eighth game, before serving out for a decider in the following game.
Rublev saved a total of three break points in the third set, before earning the key break in the ninth game. Rublev realized his first set point in the 10th game to complete a comeback. Elsewhere, world No. 44 Alexander Bublik stunned Denis Shapovalov as he won 6-4 5-7 6-4.
Shapovalov wasn't particularly happy with his performance after the match. "I started on the same level as the other day, so it's not so much of my game not working. It's more mental," Shapovalov said.
"Throwing in five doubles in one game, it's not like I don't know how to serve. It's completely mental."