Andrey Rublev has done it again. The 23-year-old has won another ATP 500 title.
His victory in Rotterdam – beating Marton Fucsovics in straight sets in the final – was his 20th ATP 500 win in a row and fourth consecutive title at that level.
His winning run has put him among some illustrious company; Roger Federer holds the record for most successive ATP 500 wins with 28, Andy Murray is second with 21 and Rublev is already ahead of Rafael Nadal (19) and Novak Djokovic (17).
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There is no doubt that Rublev is on the rise. Along with his success at ATP 500 events, he’s 58-11 in singles matches since November 2019 and has won the last seven finals he has played.
But does he have the qualities to make the next step?
The world No 8 showed he possesses some excellent tools in Rotterdam as he was one of the few players able to hit through the slow courts with his huge forehand. His serve has also improved over the last few years and he showcased some solid net play in his semi-final win over Stefanos Tsitsipas and victory over Fucsovics.
But is his raw power and aggression from the baseline enough?
So far on the big occasion it hasn’t been. He has made the quarter-finals at each of his last three Grand Slams, but has lost in straight sets every time – twice to fellow Russian Daniil Medvedev – and has only once made the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000. He also lost two of his three matches at last year’s ATP Finals after qualifying for the first time and his comments after his defeat to Nadal at the tournament revealed plenty about his position.
"I don't really play with top players, so all the other players they play much more with top players, and me, now it's my second time against Rafa and one more time I [have] play[ed] against Roger. So I don't really have much experience, so the more I will play against them the better. I think I will perform every time."
Rublev has so far shone against players ranked lower than him, winning 30 of his last 31 matches against players ranked No 11 in the world or lower, but his record against top-10 players is 10-18.

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He also hasn’t fared too well against rivals of his age. He’s lost all four of his meetings against both Medvedev and Alexander Zverev while his win against Tsitsipas this weekend levelled their head-to-head record at 3-3.
So what’s lacking?
"I think that the next step for him to winning or going deeper in majors is probably just learning to tone it down at times maybe in matches," said Andy Murray before his defeat against the Russian in the second round in Rotterdam.
"But it’s difficult when you’ve played a certain way, which has gotten you to the top of the game and into the top 10 of the world at a young age."

Highlights: Murray comes up short against Rublev in Rotterdam

Federer said that he thought Rublev was going to be "something special" after losing to him in their only meeting in Cincinnati in 2019, but maybe now he needs to add more variety to his game. He clearly has the power and skill from the baseline to control matches and showed a good level of consistency on his way to winning the title in Rotterdam. But is that enough against the very best? The way he has been beaten by Medvedev in their four meetings suggest there is still another step for him to take.
"Patience" was a word that came up when Rublev praised his fellow Russian ahead of their quarter-final at the Australian Open last month.
"He reads the game really well and it's amazing the patience he has to stay so long in the rallies, to not rush, to take the time, and these things are amazing because in the end these little details, they make him who he is."
Rublev has the power, now maybe he just needs to find the patience to match.
ATP Rotterdam
'I blew it, I messed up' - Murray on defeat to Rublev in Rotterdam
04/03/2021 AT 10:27
ATP Rotterdam
Highlights: Murray comes up short against Rublev in Rotterdam
04/03/2021 AT 10:21