Andrey Rublev downs Taylor Fritz to reach Monte Carlo Masters final
Andrey Rublev moved into his third Masters final after fighting back from a set down in Monte Carlo to beat American Taylor Fritz 5-7 6-1 6-3
Andrey Rublev moved into his third Masters final after fighting back from a set down in Monte Carlo to beat American Taylor Fritz 5-7 6-1 6-3 at the picturesque Court Rainier III on Saturday.
The pair have met regularly in Masters tournaments and Fritz had the upper hand with a three-match win streak against Rublev, but it was the Russian who prevailed in an encounter that was suspended for nearly two hours in the final set due to rain.
"It was really tough against Taylor to whom I lost three times. Very tough for me mentally to play against him," fifth seed Rublev told reporters.
"But I started to feel I will have chances. And then we had a great match and I was able to win."
Fritz started poorly and was broken in the first service game as the American stared quizzically at the surface he seemed to have mastered when knocking out defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was in the stands to watch the semi-final.
Fritz quickly found himself 2-0 down and even smashed his racquet in frustration, but he turned things around by engaging Rublev in long rallies to set up searing winners to level the set at 3-3 and then again at 5-5 as the pair traded breaks.
Rublev had the opportunity to serve for the set but Fritz converted his fourth consecutive break point to take the opener as his rattled Russian opponent requested a bathroom break before the second set.
But as the sky grew overcast, Rublev was unstoppable in the second set as he fired 11 winners while Fritz lost his range and failed to convert any break points, making 17 unforced errors as the Russian forced the match into a decider.
Fritz had the upper hand in the third, getting the crowd on their feet at one stage after the American won a gruelling point following a 40-shot rally, but Rublev hit straight back to break and level it and then take a 3-2 lead before the rain delay.
It was Rublev who broke in the first game after they returned to hold the advantage while a frustrated Fritz's unforced error count only rose after the restart.
Although Fritz saved three match points on serve, Rublev served for the match in the next game to move into the final where he will meet either Jannik Sinner or Holger Rune.