Hubert Hurkacz saves championship point to beat Andrey Rublev in an epic Shanghai Masters final. But how has Hurkacz’s victory affected the race to Turin?
Hubert Hurkacz has won the second ATP Masters 1000 title of his career after beating Andrey Rublev in the final of the Shanghai Masters 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(10-8).
Following in his countrymen’s footsteps, Hurkacz became the second Polish Masters 1000 champion within a week, after Iga Swiatek captured the WTA title in Beijing.
Both Hurkacz and Rublev served sublimely in the match, with Hurkacz hitting 21 aces to Rublev’s 13 and neither man hitting a double fault.
Breaks were difficult to come by, with only two to speak of throughout the entire match, in set one it was Hurkacz who got the only break after a huge forehand winner gave him a 4-2 lead. The rest of the set went with serve, and following an ace to the Rublev backhand on the advantage court, Hurkacz took the opening set 6-3.
However, Rublev came blasting back in set two, breaking Hurkacz and racing to a 3-0 lead (this would turn out to be the last break of the match). Both players were producing some astonishing tennis, hitting the ball with immense power of both the forehand and backhand side, proving that they were both a lot more than just big servers.
A love service game gave Rublev the second set, 6-3, sending the pair to a decider, and what a decider it would be.
Both men huffed and puffed but neither could break the others imperious serve. Only one break point had been present in the set, until at 5-4 Hurkacz hit a huge forehand cross court to the Rublev backhand to bring up break point on the Rublev serve.
Rublev seemed massively frustrated, but managed to compose himself, and after a hawk-eye challenge, saved Hurkacz’s match point with an ace down the tee.
Both players held respective serves and the Shanghai Masters would be decided by a tie-break.
Rublev took the early advantage in the tie-break, leading it 5-2, but Hurkacz battled back to level at 5-5. Rublev would however stop the rot and won the next point to bring up a match point of his own. But much like had happened to him, Hurkacz saved Rublev’s match point with a huge ace.
The pair went blow for blow over the next five points, with Hurkacz bringing up a match point and Rublev then saving it. Finally, it would be Rublev who blinked first, sticking his forehand into the net after another exceptional rally.
Hurkacz had triumphed, on his fourth match point, in a truly exceptional final to win his biggest title in two years. Rublev was visibly frustrated with the result, but can take a great deal of pride from his performances in Shanghai over the last week.
Despite the devastating nature of the loss, Rublev’s run to the final should give him enough ATP points to guarantee his place in the tour finals in Turin. He currently lies in fifth position, and has a reasonable gap between himself and Taylor Fritz in ninth position, his place is all but confirmed.
Hurkacz on the other hand has gained a lot more in the race to Turin with his victory in Shanghai. He currently lies eleventh in the rankings, but is within touching distance on Casper Ruud (10th), Taylor Fritz (9th), and Holger Rune (8th). Hurkacz (who plays in the Tokyo Open in a few days) will be hoping to pick up valuable points over the next few weeks, and will pray that the men in front of him drop points.
This seems likely considering Fritz has to defend championship winning points in Tokyo and Rune has to defend his Paris Masters points later this month. It’s not out of the question that Hurkacz can make a late push for Turin if a few results go his way.
The race to Turin is going to go right down to the wire.