In what promises to be an entertaining final, second seed Andrey Rublev will face seventh seed Borna Coric for the title at the ATP St Petersburg Open. Both men will surely be desperate to claim the title in Russia’s second city, but who will come out on top?
ATP St Petersburg Open Final Prediction
Andrey Rublev vs Borna Coric
Head-to-head: Rublev 3-0 Coric
It seems like there are few limits to what Rublev can achieve this season. The Russian has posted a 33-7 record so far this year, with only world #1 Novak Djokovic having won more matches on the ATP Tour in 2020. What has been most impressive about the Russian’s season is that even the five-month break caused by the coronavirus pandemic has not halted his momentum, with Rublev having won 18 of his 22 matches so far since the season resumed.
He is seeking his fourth title of the year at the ATP St Petersburg Open, with Rublev having already lifted trophies in Doha, Adelaide and Hamburg, where he picked up his first title at ATP 500-level. He opened his campaign in St Petersburg with a decisive win over the potentially dangerous Vasek Pospisil and he then battled bast Ugo Humbert in three, winning 4-6 6-4 7-5. Rublev backed that up by thrashing Britain’s Cameron Norrie 6-2 6-1.
That set up a semifinal clash with Denis Shapovalov, with both men searching for a big win in the race to secure a place at the ATP Finals in London. It was Shapovalov who made the better start, with Rublev finding himself a set down for the second time this week. But Shapovalov proved unable to finish the job, with Rublev battling back to win 4-6 6-3 6-4, courtesy of some clutch tennis under pressure and some excellent returning.
In 2019, Coric was well-beaten in the final at the ATP St Petersburg Open by an in-form Daniil Medvedev. A year later, a repeat of that encounter looked to be on the cards when Coric and Medvedev were placed in the same quarter of the draw in St Petersburg. But although the Croatian held up his end of the bargain, beating Feliciano Lopez and Roman Safiullin, both in straight sets, Medvedev was beaten in the second round by the big-serving Reilly Opelka.
One suspects that Coric was not too disappointed about that. That is not to say that he had an easy time of it up against Opelka, with the American racing out to a 5-2 lead in the first set. But Coric was able to rally to a 7-6 6-3 win, which set up a semifinal clash with Milos Raonic. The Canadian was looking to reach his second final at ATP 500-level and stormed through the first set, winning it 6-1. But Coric was not to be denied, turning the match around to win 1-6 6-1 6-4.
The final looks set to be an entertaining clash between two players with very different approaches to playing from the baseline. Rublev looks to play on the front foot, whilst Coric is an unspectacular but very efficient counter-puncher. Somewhat surprisingly, however, Rublev has dominated their rivalry so far, winning all three of their matches without losing a set. That will surely give him real confidence heading into this final.
Coric’s defensive qualities should be good enough to allow him to withstand a player with Rublev’s power, but the Russian is enjoying the season of his life and has hit through better defenders than Coric this year. He has also improved his serve considerably, which could prove vital against the Croatian, who is one of the better returners in the men’s game. Coric will look to extend the rallies and draw errors from the racquet of Rublev. But the Russian has not been making many of late.
Prediction: Rublev in 3
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