Rublev outlasts Rune in marathon contest
Russia’s Andrey Rublev survived two match points in the fifth set to defeat Denmark’s Holger Rune 6/3, 3/6, 6/3, 4/6, 7/6(9) in an Australian Open thriller that lasted three hours, 40 minutes.
Rublev, seeded fifth, held serve in the opening game of first set. He came back from 0-40 to break Rune in the sixth game and went on to win 6/3. The ninth seeded Holder took the second set 6/3.
The two players split the third and fourth sets. On the decider, Holgate lost three break chances, but later led 3-1. Rune served for the match at 5-4, but he lost the service game. The Dane had two match points in the 12th game, but the Russian cancelled them.
In the super tiebreak, Holgar led 5-0, but Rublev battled to level seven points apiece. The Russian reached match point at 9-8, but it was saved. However, he won the tiebreak 11-9 for the victory.
The victorious Rublev described the match as a roller coaster. “I was 0-5 down in the super tiebreaker. This is the first time I won anything like this, especially in a special tournament as Australian Open. Playing in the quarterfinal is something I will remember all my life. I have no words. I am shaking,” he said.
Two other fourth round matches were played yesterday with America’s Tommy Paul defeating Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, 6/2, 4/6, 6/2, 7/5. The American southpaw, Ben Shelton, defeated compatriot and Michael Mmoh’s conqueror, Jack J. Wolf, 6/7(5), 6/2, 6/7(4), 7/6(4), 6/2.
Djokovic defeated home country favourite Alex de Minaur 6/2, 6/1, 6/2, in an anti-climax. The Serb played with strapping on his right thigh, as he has done so far.
On this he said: “I kept my focus all the way through to play my best match of the year so far. Tonight, it wasn’t obvious I was dealing with injury. I didn’t feel anything today.”
Djokovic will face Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals. When the Russian strongman was asked about the match-up, he said: “No one wants to face Novak. I want to be in the other side of the draw.”