Andrey Rublev has reached the fourth round of the French Open with a convincing win over former US Open finalist Kevin Anderson. The Russian won in straight sets 6-3 6-2 6-3 and continues his strong showing at the most recent slams. The win sees Rublev make the fourth round or better in his last four successive Grand Slams – his only appearance this late in a competition previously coming at the 2017 US Open. He’ll face Marton Fucsovics after his third round victory against Thiago Monteiro, before a projected quarter final with Stefanos Tsitsipas. The two faced off earlier in the year at the Hamburg Open, where Rublev overcame the second seed to win in three sets.
Rublev’s third round run:
The Russian went into his third round clash with Kevin Anderson after two tough tests at Roland Garros. He was two sets down to American Sam Querrey before sparking a comeback to win 6-7(5) 6-7(4) 7-5 6-4 6-3. Despite the unnerving start, glimpses of his ability shone through, only hitting 20 unforced errors and 2 doubles faults throughout the match. His second round was more comfortable, beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in four sets. He won a total of 118 points to win the match in 2h11 minutes.
His third round tie against Anderson was the world no.12 at his best. Rublev broke the South African’s serve once in the first set to 6-3, before breaking twice in the next two. He also did not face a single break point himself. The tie was over in 1h34, with the 13th seed winning 89% of his first serve points and only registering one double fault. He draws level on the head-to-head record against Anderson, with their only other match ending in defeat for the Russian. They met in the first round of the 2015 US Open, where Anderson took the match 7-6 6-7 7-5 6-3.
A winning record since tennis’ return:
Andrey Rublev boasts a stellar record since the resumption of the tour in August. His win over Kevin Anderson takes his record to 13 wins from 16 matches – nine of which have come on clay. This includes his stellar run at the Hamburg Open to claim his third title of 2020, defeating second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final. Going into the tournament as the 5th seed, Rublev only dropped a single set on his way to the final. Heading into the final against the Greek, the pair were level on wins, both winning two a piece. Rublev took the first set comfortably, breaking serve once to win 6-4, before Tsitsipas took the second 6-3. The final set was close, but the Russian claimed his maiden Hamburg Open with a 7-5 deficit.
Despite successive losses to Dan Evans at both Cincinnati and Dubai before the cancellation of the tour, Rublev matched his best Grand Slam run at the US Open this year. He cruised through the opening three rounds, not dropping a single set. Wins against Jeremy Chardy and Gregoire Barrere, followed by two bagels against Salvatore Caruso set up a tie against third seed Daniil Medvedev. He lost to his Russian compatriot 6-7(6) 3-6 6-7(5) in the quarter final.
A tough test going forward:
Andrey Rublev will face Lithuanian Marton Fucsovics in the fourth round, going into the clash with a losing record. He lost their only match at Barcelona in 2016 in the semi-final. As well as this, Fucsovics caused a major upset, handing defeat to fourth seed and 2019 US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev. The world no.63 won 6-4 7-6(3) 2-6 6-1 to progress to the second round. Comfortable wins against Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Thiago Monteiro sets up the tie between the two for the fourth round.
Should Rublev beat Fucsovics, he faces the aforementioned Tsitsipas in the quarter finals. After this follows a semi-final clash against Novak Djokovic – currently undefeated in 2020 aside from his default against Carreno-Busta. The world no.1 is chasing a second Roland Garros title and wants to extend his stellar record to 34-1 for the year. The current Australian Open champion is yet to drop a set in Paris, defeating the likes of Michael Ymer and Ricardas Berankis. Considered the underdog by most, a win against Novak Djokovic would schedule a projected final against one of the two ‘Kings of Clay’ – Rafael Nadal or Dominic Thiem. Nadal is pushing for a record 13th French Open title. Thiem is looking to avenge successive final losses against the spaniard, but also be the first man to win successive Grand Slams outside of the ‘Big 3’ since Andre Agassi in 2001.
Andrey Rublev has had a stellar 2020, and will hope he can break into the ATP top 10 with a push for the Roland Garros title.