Andrey Rublev produced a spellbinding display to secure a shock straight-sets victory over 2019 champion Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP finals in Turin.
The Russian was the more proactive player throughout and joined Novak Djokovic at the top of Green Group thanks to a 6-4 6-4 success in one hour and 32 minutes.
Rublev will meet Djokovic next and was upbeat about the prospect of taking on the Serbian for the first time in his post-match interview on court.
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To play one of the greatest players in history, I don’t need to prepare. I just need to do my best and believe in myself, that’s it.
“I was playing really aggressive from the first game. I had really aggressive shots and returns. I am really happy with my performance today.
"The first match was important to feel the confidence that I have my level back and I’m happy to win."
Rublev made the early running with his explosive forehand doing plenty of damage in the fast conditions. It set the tone for the rest of what proved to be a one-sided affair. Tsitsipas was forced to swat away three break points in a lengthy first service game and was pushed to deuce on his second before Rublev finally got his reward when he broke to lead 3-2.
Tsitsipas improved as the set wore on but offered little on his return game to allow Rublev, who won 20 of his 23 first-serve points, to deservedly close out the opener in 43 minutes.
The pattern continued in the second set as Rublev’s aggressive tactics and desire to get his big-hitting forehand into play saw him once again break to lead 3-2.
Tsitsipas, who showed no obvious signs of the elbow injury that forced him to retire at the Paris Masters recently, offered little resistance from there and, in truth, never looked like adding to his 55 ATP match wins this year in what was ultimately a disappointing start for the Greek.
Rublev recovered from a nervy double fault while serving for the match to prevail and tie the head-to-head with Tsitsipas at 4-4.
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