May 20th, 2024

Rublev beats Fritz in 2 sets to reach Madrid Open final

By The Associated Press on May 3, 2024.

MADRID (AP) – Andrey Rublev beat Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-3 and reached the final of the Madrid Open on Friday.

Rublev broke Fritz once in each set while never seeing his serve in danger.

The eighth-ranked Russian will face Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime or Jiri Lehecka in Sunday’s final.

Rublev is seeking his 16th career title and his second of the season after winning Hong Kong in January.

He entered Madrid on a four-game losing streak after early exits in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He has won four straight, including against two-time defending champion Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinals.

“My serve helped me a lot,” Rublev said. “It’s crazy. It’s the good thing about sports, about tennis. One week can change everything, you have to remember that … because you can’t perform always at 100%, so it is normal there will be ups and downs.”

Fritz, ranked 13th, entered the match with a 5-3 record against Rublev.

After an evenly contested start, Rublev pounced by breaking Fritz from love on his last service game of the first set. He remained in control.

On Saturday, top-ranked Iga Swiatek will face No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka in a repeat of last year’s women’s final won by Sabalenka.

The men’s side has been hard hit by injuries and fitness concerns.

Novak Djokovic withdrew before the tournament. Top-seeded Jannik Sinner pulled out before the quarterfinals with a hurt hip; Daniil Medvedev retired from his quarterfinal with Lehecka; Alcaraz was hampered by a sore right arm before he fell to Rublev; and Rafael Nadal did what he could before bowing out of what was likely his last appearance in his home country.

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AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis

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