Andrey Rublev has played a lot of tennis this year, it has been a difficult year for the Russian outside of the final eight in Melbourne and Mixed Doubles Gold in Tokyo but on his 73rd match of the year he put on one of his best performances.
I have been quite critical of the Russian this year as I don’t think we have seen his best or much progress from this time last year, I would say that the jury is still out following his win over Tsitsipas on Monday night but there is more to be done here in Turin.
I liked the way Andrey played, his game had purpose and power and it was the difference. His forehand did most of the damage and rarely slipped up hitting just four unforced errors in 20 games unlike Tsitsipas who was leaking errors.
I have come away from the match thinking two things, is this it from both players or is there more to come?
With regards to Andrey Rublev, he will face Casper Ruud who he has beaten in all four meetings previously including Monte-Carlo back in April. We will also see the Russian up against Novak Djokovic for the first time in his career which will be fascinating to see. How will his game stand up against the world number one? I hope this spurs him on and if anything this is now where his tournament begins, he’s got the win and now it is time to build.
What about Stefanos Tsitsipas? I would be lying if I were to say I wasn’t worried because I am. He was the form playing but for one reason or another his season has petered out.
I think there is a still a hangover from the Roland Garros final where he was two sets up and then this toilet break theme that occurred in America, it was badly advised and he and his team have fuelled a lot of the backlash themselves.
The performance against Rublev was not good, his forehand was wild and there wasn’t any backbone behind the backhand, it was an awkward watch which saw the Greek fail to create a single break point. Tsitsipas has been nursing this arm problem of late which could be an issue but overall I do think after this week he needs a rest and reset. Djokovic and Ruud would’ve watched this match with anticipation knowing on this performance he is there for the taking.