Andrey Rublev seals recovery from slump with Madrid Open final triumph | Tennis

Andrei Rublev overcame a first set upset to defeat Felix Auger-Aliassime 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in the Madrid Open final on Sunday to win his second Masters 1000 title. did.

Auger-Aliassime, who was chasing his first Masters title, looked poised for victory, but a resurgent Rublev, who had been suffering from a fever during the tournament, recovered in just under three hours to win.

The 26-year-old Russian entered the tournament in Madrid in poor form having lost his last four matches on tour, dropping just two sets en route to the title.

“I have nothing to say. If you know what I’ve been through in the last nine days, you can’t even imagine that I can win the title…For the last six weeks, I’ve been losing in the first round. ” Rublev said. .

“I almost backed out because there were very few problems that couldn’t be solved, but I have to give full credit to the doctors. They were magical and did some tricky things… I managed to play it, and I’ve never seen it before in my life.

“I can say this is the proudest title of my career. I haven’t slept well the last three or four days.”

Auger-Aliassime had reached the final when three of his five opponents in Madrid received defaults, including top seed Jannik Sinner, who withdrew with injury before the quarter-finals. was also included.

Any doubts about whether the unseeded Canadian deserved to advance to the final were put to rest when he clinically defeated Rublev’s serve in the first set.

Rublev got off to a bad start, suffering two double faults in the first game, but Auger-Aliassime hit a number of winners and the Russian quickly found himself trailing 4-1. .

The seventh seed fought back and managed to break Auger-Aliassime, but by that point the Canadian was in good control and made the most of his strong forehand with a good serve that hit the net with his serve. He clinched the first set with an overwhelming winner.

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But Rublev, who eliminated second-seeded and home favorite Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinals, was more aggressive with his shot-making on serve in the second set.

The Russian also found his range with his first serve, constantly putting Auger-Aliassime on the back foot, and then leading 6-5 with a crucial break to snatch a decisive chance.

There was something like déjà vu in the final set, as Rublev continued to serve until he broke again at 6-5. Auger-Aliassime was under pressure to stay on serve, but committed two double faults, the second of which handed the title to Rublev in an anti-climactic final.

“Andrei, congratulations, a very deserved winner. Congratulations to you and your team. You worked hard to the end,” said Auger-Aliassime.