Andrey Rublev secured his first Masters 1000 title after besting the young Holger Rune in three sets, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5.
Andrey Rublev has won the 2023 Monte Carlo Masters after recovering from a set down against Holger Rune.
The win marks Rublev’s first in a Masters 1000 event, and amends some of the disappointment he felt in
2021 when he lost in the final to Stephanos Tsitsipas.
In a hard-fought match that swung back and forth throughout, Rublev was able to keep his composure and better the young contender.
Set one saw Rune take the early initiative as he mixed the gentle touch of the drop shot with the thunderous power of his renowned forehand. Despite Rublev battling back, he was unable to take the first set as Rune won it 7-5.
Rublev may have been disappointed not to take the first set as he seemed to be the more dominant of the two, amassing eight break points to Rune’s four.
Despite the disappointment of the opening set, Rublev wasted little time levelling match. In a little over half an hour, Rublev dispatched Rune 6-2 to send the match to a deciding set, the first time since 2016 that a Monte Carlo Masters final would go the distance.
After being the dominant player in both sets, it seemed that Rublev was destined to claim set three with ease. This would not be the case…
Rune raced to a 4-1 lead and led 30-40 on Rublev’s serve, which would have made the set 5-1, meaning Rune would only be a game from the title.
“Trailing 1-4, 0/30, then saving break points, thinking there is no chance to win.”
But Rublev rallied back, saving the break point and holding his serve. But he still found himself a break down in the deciding set.
In the next game Rublev got the break of serve he craved, and after holding his serve, had levelled the match at 4-4.
Improved mentality the key?
Rublev stated in his post-match interviews that he believed that his improved mentality was partly responsible for his comeback in the final set.
Talking on his previous loses in Masters 1000 events Rublev stated, “As soon as I was losing a set, I was going down like, ‘It’s over I have no chance’”
But on this occasion, he kept his cool, telling himself to, “Keep fighting, keep believing.”
Following Rune’s ninth double fault of the match, Rublev gained the break which gave him a 6-5 lead, serving for the match. Rublev hit his only ace of the set at 40-15 to beat Rune and claim his first Masters 1000 title.
Winning in Monte Carlo could be a spring board for Rublev to start winning more tournaments in the future. The Russian is likely to be a serious contender at the French Open later this year, having won the junior version of the title in 2014.
Is it possible for Rublev to take this form from the clay to the grass?
Players have often struggled with the transition from clay to grass or vice versa.
But with Rublev’s heavy hitting, especially off the forehand, he could be a serious contender at this year’s Wimbledon finals, after it was announced that Russian and Belarusian players would be allowed to compete.
The impeccable form of a number of young players this year already, like Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, as well as Rune and Rublev, makes this a very exciting year for men’s tennis.
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