Andrey Rublev suffered a devastating defeat Saturday evening against Casper Ruud in the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals. However, the three-time season finale qualifier leaves Turin with a positive attitude.
“Of course, there [are] a lot of positive things to take. I can be grateful for the week. I [made the] semi-final. I was here. We’re the best eight players. All the players are dreaming to play here, and I was part of it,” Rublev said. “The rest of the players, they’re not here, so obviously it’s better to be here and to lose every match than not to be here at all. I did semis for the first time, I’m happy.”
Rublev entered the clash with a 4-1 ATP Head2Head advantage against Ruud. His only previous defeat to the Norwegian came in a final-set tie-break last year at the Pala Alpitour.
On this occasion, it did not go the 25-year-old’s way. Ruud converted all four of his break points to triumph after 69 minutes.
“I hope I can take a great lesson out of this match. We’ll see. We’ll see. Now I have great time to improve, so we’ll see how it’s going to be for Australia,” Rublev said. “I’m really excited for the next season. I’m motivated, especially now finishing this week being more stable than usual, winning some matches that normally I would not win before.”
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Rublev defeated two former Nitto ATP Finals champions — Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas — to claim his first semi-final berth at the year-end championships. In his first two appearances, Rublev went 1-2 in round-robin play. Ruud was simply too good in the knockout stages.
“I think I started quite well, and then, I don’t know, Casper was just too good. He played really well, really solid. Since the beginning he [played at a] high level. That’s it,” Rublev said. “When I lost my serve, I started to rush a bit. I was trying to play aggressive, rushing. I started to miss more and more.
“It’s tough when he [had], I don’t know, almost 80 per cent first-serve serving 215. It’s tough to do something. Then when the match was almost done, when I managed to relax a bit and I was keep playing aggressive, but I was not rushing, I managed to start to play better. It was too late. But he was too good. Nothing to say.”
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The No. 7 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Rublev won 50 tour-level matches for the second consecutive year (51-20) and lifted four trophies in a season for the second time, triumphing in Marseille, Dubai, Belgrade and Gijon. Despite the quiet end to his campaign, Rublev is excited to work towards an even bigger 2023.
“I’m positive,” Rublev said. “And I’m really excited and motivated for the next season.”
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