For the second straight event at this level, there will be a new name added to the growing list of Masters champion.
Sunday in Monte Carlo, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev will meet for the first Masters clay event of 2021. Tsitsipas is appearing in his third Masters final after 2018 Canada and 2019 Madrid while Rublev is in his first.
Rublev backed up his big victory over Rafael Nadal yesterday by easing past Casper Ruud 6-3, 7-5. Ruud had an early break lead in the opener before Rublev got on a run to take the set.
In the second, Ruud again held the lead but failed to maintain. Rublev broke at 5-all and then served it out.
“Casper start really well,” Rublev said. “He put high intensity, and that’s why he was winning up with a break. I knew that I have to raise my level. I have to start to play more aggressive, to hit the ball more harder, otherwise I’m going to lose the match.
“I start to do it little by little. I start to play more aggressive. Casper start to make more mistakes. I start to make more winners. I start to lead the match. That’s how I won the first set. That was the key.
“Then second set, as soon as I was winning, then he broke me back. I slowed down a bit. I start to play less aggressive, more defensive. That’s when he step in and he started to play better and he start to dictate. That’s also why he start to win in the second set.”
Rublev, who was playing in his second Masters semifinal after Miami, is into his biggest career final where he will face Tsitsipas.
“I’m feeling great and happy to play one more final, especially my first ATP Masters final,” Rublev added.
Tsitsipas halted the hot-handed Dan Evans 6-2, 6-1 to reach his first Masters final in almost two years since 2019 Madrid.
“I’m feeling good, I’m feeling energized,” said Tsitsipas. “I still have plenty of gas and energy left in me. I was able to have all of my matches done in two sets, so that is I would say a big plus. I am happy to be able to play that way, just take it match by match, approach each individual match with the same intensity and energy. That has obviously contributed to that, to be able to finish the matches in two sets, not go to three-setters.”
Rublev and Tsitsipas have split their already six prior meetings with the Russian coming out on top recently in Rotterdam.
“Stefanos is definitely one of the top guys I play the most,” Rublev said. “We play him already this year, we play so many matches last year. Of course, for the moment he’s the top player that I’m playing the most, for sure.
“It’s going to be tough match,” he said. “We had already many battles with each other last year. Some of them he won, some of them I won. All of them were super tough three-set matches, most of them.”
Tsitsipas seeks his sixth title, Rublev his ninth. The winner will take home their biggest career title to date.
“Obviously it is important to elevate my game and try and push it to the limits,” Tsitsipas said. “I really, really want to be in that position where I come close to winning big tournaments like this, like the Rolex Masters here in Monte-Carlo. It’s a dream of mine to be playing in the final, honestly.”
SUNDAY MONTE CARLO SCHEDULE
Court Rainier III Starts At 12:00 Noon
F Daniel Evans/Neal Skupski v 2 Nikola Mektic/Mate Pavic
Not Before 2:30 Pm
F 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas v 6 Andrey Rublev
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