Andrey Rublev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Rublev's first challenge
Rublev reminded of himself
In the first months of the new season, Andrey Rublev somewhat disappeared from the radar. At the start of the year, he played in Chennai, where in the second round he lost without a chance to Stan Wawrinka , and then did not even try to qualify for the Australian Open, and in February he played unsuccessfully qualifications for the American tournaments.
By the end of February, Andrei dropped to the third hundred. All this was a little alarming, especially against the background of Taylor Fritz , who played in juniors last year, and this year he has already broken into the top hundred. At the beginning of March, the young Russian managed to remind himself of himself at the challengeer in Kemper. Moreover, Andrei did not go directly to the base, so first he had to qualify.
In the first round of the base, the Russian knocked out the local player Albano Olivetti , who received a special invitation. Andrey coped in two sets, although in the second game he had to play a protracted tie-break. A similar situation was in the Russian derby with Khachanov, only there was a tense tie-break in the first set (12:10). The second set also took place in the fight - 7: 6, 7: 5. In the quarterfinals, the young Russian's opponent was the 4th seeded Lukasz Lacko . This match was the most intense for Andrey. It came to a decisive tie-break, where the Slovak even led with a mini-break, but in the end Rublev snatched the victory - 6: 4, 3: 6, 7: 6 (7: 5).
For him it was only the second access to the semifinals of the challenger in his career. The first one was in Moscow in June 2015. At the semi-final stage, Rublyov was faced with an experienced opponent - Sergey Stakhovsky . As a result, the meeting did not take place, since the Ukrainian starred before the start of the game. Thus, the Russian found himself in the first final on the Challengers, where his opponent was an even more experienced tennis player - Paul-Henri Mathieu .
The Frenchman will forever remain in the memory of Russian fans after lost to Mikhail Youzhny in the final of the 2002 Davis Cup in the fifth decisive
Andrey Rublev (Russia, Q) - Paul-Henri Mathieu (France, 1) - 6: 7, 6 : 4, 6: 4.
match. Mathieu was still leading 2: 0 in games. 14 years later, the 34-year-old Frenchman is still performing, and the last months have been relatively successful for him. He was in the final of the competition in Montpellier and is now firmly entrenched in the top 100. There were no other tournaments this week, and Mathieu does not play for the national team, so Paul-Henri decided to play at the home challenger.
In the fourth match in the main draw, Rublev played a tie-break, but only for the first time in the tournament he lost in the 13th game. Paul-Henri took the starting set and took the second lead with a break. Andrey managed to add in the middle of the meeting. It is worth noting that Rublev did not behave as emotionally on the court as many are used to seeing. No, of course he was often upset about his failures, but at least he did not splash out as many emotions as before. In the decisive set, the Russian earned the right to apply for the match. Andrey wanted too muchwin and made hasty decisions, which helped Mathieu make the reverse break. However, Rublev quickly came to his senses and in the next game at the reception ended the meeting in his favor - 6: 7, 6: 4, 6: 4.
The first Challenger title in his career brought Rublyov 95 points. The Russian will move up 47 positions at once and become 161st. Before that, his record was 171st position. This is still not enough to get into the main grids of the APR, but at least this is a serious step in the right direction. Andrei is next in line to qualify for a tournament in Indian Wells.
Svitolina succeeded in a protracted final
This week the girls had two modest International competitions in Kuala Lumpur and Monterrey. The organizers of the tournament in Malaysia tried to improve the composition of the tournament at the last moment. The first three seeded in this tournament were girls who received special invitations - Robert Vinci, Elina Svitolina and Sabina Lisicki . Roberta held her second tournament as a top 10 tennis player and was sensationally defeated in the first round by Chiang Kaichen .
Heather Watson (Great Britain) - Kirsten Flipkens (Belgium) - 3: 6, 6: 2, 6: 3 .
Anabel Medina Garrigues / Arancia Parra Santonja (Spain, 1) - Perta Martic / Maria Sanchez (Croatia / USA) - 4: 6, 7: 5, [10: 7].
BMW Malaysian Open. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. WTA International. Hard (open courts)
Elina Svitolina (Ukraine, 2 / WC) - Eugenie Bouchard (Canada, 6) - 6: 7 (5: 7), 6: 4, 7: 5.
Varatchaya Wonteanchai / Zhaoxuan Yang (Thailand / China) - Chen Liang / Yafan Wang (China, 1) - 4: 6, 6: 4, [10: 7].
Both Russian women - Alexandra Panova and Elizaveta Kulichkova - left the tournament in the first round. Panova lost to Zhu Lin, who quite unexpectedly reached the semifinals. And Kulichkova did not cope with the Japanese Risa Ozaki . A year ago, Elizabeth was in the quarterfinals, so she ended up losing a little in the rankings and dropped towards the end of the hundred.
After Vinci's elimination in the top half, Eugenie Bouchard looked like a favorite. confidently walked along the net. She did not lose a single game before the final. She didn't have to play with Sabina Lisicki . The German woman did not apply for the match against Naomi Broedi in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, the Briton failed to impose a fight on Eugénie. Elina Svitolina became another finalist, but she was not so confident on the grid. She lost the set to both Kuchova and Ozaki. In addition, she talked about back problems during the tournament, but Elina was fine by the final.
The decisive match turned out to be one of the most dramatic finals of this season. Elina, who is now working with Justine Henin , was leading in the first set, but did not apply for the game, and Bouchard was a little luckier at the tie-break. Before the second set in Kuala Lumpurit rained, but this pause was very short.
I don't remember much from the second set, I had too many emotions. I only remember that I was 2: 4 behind and it was hard for me, - Elina said. The Ukrainian woman managed to take four games in a row and equalize the score in the parties. And before the third set, it started raining again. And this time the pause lasted a couple of hours.
In the decisive set, Elina was leading at first, but then there was another break, after which Bouchard played out. Both girls were exhausted from the endless ending, so there was more emotion in the ending than tactics. Eugénie got a chance to apply for the title, but gave an important game to zero. And after a couple of games Svitolina for the fourth time (out of four matches) beat Bouchard - 6: 7 (5: 7), 6: 4, 7: 5. The official match time is 2 hours and 57 minutes, but pauses due to rain are not counted here.
The girls finished the final closer to midnight local time. Eugenie admitted that she felt the symptoms of a concussion. Doctors even advised her to withdraw. Recall that the Canadian fell in the locker room and hit his head during the US Open-2015. Elina was so overwhelmed with emotions after the victory that she simply forgot to shake hands with the referee. After the victory, the Ukrainian woman apologized to the judge on Twitter. This is the fourth title in Svitolina's career. It allowed her to rise to the best place in her career - 14th.
Watson conquered Monterrey
In the history of the Monterrey tournament, the most successful tennis player is Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who won the title here three times. Also, Marion Bartoli and Ana Ivanovich took the lead here. Last year's champion Timia Baczynski decided not to defend the title. Initially, Victoria Azarenko and Maddison Keys were announced for the tournament, but both withdrew due to injuries.
Pavlyuchenkova this time performed unsuccessfully in Mexico. Already in the first round, she lost to the qualified Pauline Parmentier - 2: 6, 2: 6. There were no other Russian women in this tournament.
Carolina Wozniacki last year this week won Kuala Lumpur , but she went to Monterrey to defend her points. The Danish woman continued her series of unsuccessful performances. She lost in the second round to Heather Watson . After this week, Carolina dropped to 25th place. The first seeded Sara Errani also lost early. She took only four games from Annette Kontaveit in the second round. The Estonian hosted an impressive tournament. In addition to Errani, she defeated Tsibulkova and Gibbs and reached the semifinals, where she could not cope with Kirsten Flipkens. The Belgian reached her first WTA final since June 2013.
In the bottom half, Britain's Heather Watson played impressively. At some point, the thought of a British final arose, but the first racket of Britain Johanna Konta lost in the quarterfinals to Flipkens. For Watson, only the opening match with Doi was difficult, and she beat Wozniacki, Lucic and Garcia in two sets.
In the decisive match, Flipkens had a better start and confidently took the first set. Heather added andmanaged to keep the second batch. In the third game, both were nervous. Watson took the lead 3: 0, missed her advantage, but in the end she still sealed the victory - 3: 6, 6: 2, 6: 3. I always liked Mexico, when I was six years old, we came here to celebrate Christmas, - said Watson, who won her third WTA title. Heather did not qualify for the Indian Wells team, but the organizers provided her with a special invitation.
The Indian Wells tournament will traditionally begin in the middle of the week. Qualification matches will take place on Monday. The first matches of the women's tournament will take place on Wednesday, while the men will start a day later - on Thursday.