Final preview: Stefanos Tsitsipas to face Andrey Rublev for Maiden Masters 1000 Glory | ATP visit

For the second consecutive ATP Masters 1000 event, a new champion will lift his first trophy at this level while Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Andrey Rublev for the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters title.

There will be more than Monte Carlo glory at stake for Tsitsipas and Rublev. The winner will lead the FedEx ATP Race To Turin rankings for a place in the Nitto ATP Finals on Monday. Rublev has already overtaken current leader Novak Djokovic with his performance this week, although Tsitsipas could still climb to the top spot with a victory in the clay final.

After giving away a great chance at the Miami Open presented by Itau, the first ATP Masters 1000 event without Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic for 17 years, the two players arrived in the Principality eager for redemption. Tsitsipas and Rublev performed well in Miami, but were beaten by eventual champion Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively.

Sixth seed Rublev has revealed that the key to bouncing back and reaching his first Masters 1000 final this week was to keep tabs on his emotions – a lesson he learned the hard way in South Florida. .

“That’s why I lost [in Miami], because of my emotions, ”Rublev said after his semi-final victory. “At the end of the day, if you want to learn, you’ll improve on it. I hope I want to learn and I want to improve myself. That’s why I’m better. Of course, it is not easy. [In] a few matches [there] will always be ups and downs. “

The Russian won his first victory over Nadal (1-2) on the Spaniard’s favorite surface and after resisting a comeback in the second set to triumph 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. It felt like a coming-of-age moment for the 23-year-old, who has a 24-4 best ATP Tour match record in 2021. The tennis world seemed to be waiting for Rublev to find a way to translate his electrifying sound. . performances at the ATP 500 level right through to the big stages of the Masters 1000 events, and he did so against arguably the toughest opponent possible with an eleven-time defeat of the former champion.

But he passed another big test in the next round, staying calm in order to save the victory over unranked Casper Ruud 6-3, 7-5 and reach the league game.

“This week I really control my emotions [very well]. That’s why I’m doing well, ”Rublev explained. “That’s why I won the game with Robert when I was losing. That’s why I won the match against Rafa when he came back [the] second series. Even today [in] the second set I come back because I haven’t gone crazy. I stay focused. I stay in the game. He returned.

Rublev will face two-time Masters 1000 finalist Tsitsipas for the second time in 2021, when they meet Court Rainier III on Sunday. The duo have already met six times in their ATP Head2Head series (3-3), including three matches last year and also at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament last month in Rotterdam.

The Greek player beat the world this week in Monte-Carlo, where he also lives and trains. Tsitsipas hasn’t lost a set on the week, defeating Dubai champion Aslan Karatsev in his opener and facing Cristian Garin and breakout semi-finalist Daniel Evans. He also beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (7-5, ret.) Along the way.

“I feel good. I feel full of energy. I still have a lot of gas and energy in me,” said Tsitsipas. “I was able to do all my matches in straight sets, so I would say a big plus. I’m happy to be able to play that way, just play game by game, approach each individual game with the same intensity and energy. That obviously contributed to that, being able to finish the games in two sets, not moving to three players.

Five-time ATP Tour title Tsitsipas is looking to win his biggest trophy in Monte Carlo after his Nitto ATP Finals 2019 triumph at the O2 in London. A victory would also be his first championship at an ATP 500, ATP Masters 1000 or Grand Slam tournament. In contrast, his opponent Rublev swept 23 games and four titles in a row in the ATP 500 events of 2020-21.

It took a member of the Big Three to stop Tsitsipas in his previous Masters 1000 finals at the Open National Bank 2018 presented by Rogers in Toronto (L. Nadal) and at the Open Mutua Madrid 2019 (to L. Djokovic). Preparing for his clash with Rublev, a first-time finalist at this level, Tsitsipas assured the press that he doesn’t feel any extra pressure to get the job done.

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“It’s not so much about it. It’s more how much I really want it, ”Tsitsipas said. “It doesn’t necessarily add pressure to me. It’s just sheer determination, the willingness to go above and beyond to get what I want. I don’t like to think of pressure like that. I wouldn’t call it that way.

In the first match on Court Rainier III, Evans hopes to end his dream week in Monte Carlo with the ultimate prize by teaming up with compatriot Neal Skupski in the championship doubles match. The duo reached two consecutive Masters 1000 finals in Miami and Monte-Carlo, the first two tournaments of their new partnership. The Britons will have a chance to avenge their loss in South Florida on Sunday by booking a rematch with second seed Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.

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How to watch

COURT RAINIER III start at 12h00

D. Evans (GBR) / N. Skupski (GBR) versus [2] N. Mektic (CRO) / M. Pavic (CRO)

Not before 2:30 p.m.
[4] S. Tsitsipas (GRE) versus [6] A. Rublev (RUS)