Andrey Rublev held his nerve to beat Alexander Bublik in a five-set thriller and reach his first Wimbledon quarter-final on Sunday after squandering a two-set lead. The Russian seventh seed was not broken once in the whole match on Centre Court as he avenged his defeat in last month’s Halle final, winning 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-7 (5/7), 6-4. Rublev, who needed medical treatment for a cut finger early in the match, was gifted the opener when Kazakh 23rd seed Bublik double-faulted twice in the 12th game.
A single break in the sixth game of the second set proved decisive as Rublev established an iron grip on the match.
Neither player was able to force a break in the third set, which went to a tie-break, with Bublik squandering three set points before unleashing a vicious forehand passing shot to claw his way back into the contest.
Rublev appeared to be on the cusp of victory when he carved out two match points in the 10th game of the fourth set but Bublik saved them both with some impressive serving and came out on top again in the tie-break.
The players settled back into their rhythm on serve in the decider but Rublev forced the crucial break in the seventh game, letting out a gutteral roar.
He produced an astonishing diving forehand to set up match point and sealed the win with an ace.
“It was the most lucky shot ever,” said Rublev, referring to his breathtaking effort. “It was luck, nothing else. I don’t think I can do it one more time.”
He said he kept believing the chances would come even though Bublik was so strong on serve throughout the match.
“I was just thinking it doesn’t matter, I lost the third set and fourth set,” he added. “I said if I keep playing I would have one chance, and in the end I had it, played a really good volley and was able to break him.
“Every set I had chances, on match point he served full power. I kept thinking just keep playing, don’t start to explode before the match is over. In the end I was able to make it.”
Rublev, who fired 21 aces to Bublik’s 39, will next face the winner of the match between seven-time champion Novak Djokovic and Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz.
Sinner reaches back-to-back Wimbledon quarter-finals
Italian eighth seed Jannik Sinner reached his second successive Wimbledon quarter-final on Sunday with a straight-sets victory over Colombia’s Daniel Elahi Galan. Sinner came through 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 6-3 and will take on 92nd-ranked Roman Safiullin of Russia for a place in the semi-finals. The 21-year-old Italian fired 42 winners with 12 aces past the 85th-ranked Galan, who mounted a stirring defensive display. He saved the first 14 break points he faced and 17 of 20 in the entire match.
Galan even broke for the first time in the second set to lead 2-0 but was unable to maintain the brief momentum as Sinner broke twice to open a two-set lead.
The Italian raced to a 5-2 lead in the third set.
Galan, playing in the last 16 of a major for the first time, saved match points in the eighth game but the tie was over when he hit a backhand long in the following game.
“I wasn’t feeling great on court. He’s a big server so I had to try and win the important points,” said Sinner.
The Italian apologised to the crowd for his demeanour on court when he protested to the umpire over calls he claimed were borderline.
“Some calls were tough, sorry guys, it happens. Players get frustrated but this is the sport,” he said.
Last year, Sinner squandered a two-set lead to lose in five against eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.
Tuesday’s duel with the unheralded Safiullin will on paper at least be the easiest of his four last-eight clashes at the majors.
At the French Open in 2020, he was defeated by Rafael Nadal before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Australian Open in 2022 and Carlos Alcaraz at the US Open later that same year.
/ 3 years ago
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