WATCH: Rain can’t dampen Andrey Rublev’s start in Rome
Andrey Rublev won through in his opening match of the Italian Open on Saturday despite taking a challenging opponent under tricky circumstances.
In an ATP Masters 1000 second round match that included two rain delays the world No 6 defeated Alex Molcan 6-3, 6-4.
Rublev won the match on Court Pietrangeli in 80 minutes after breaking his opponent’s service in each set by making effective use of his powerful groundstrokes on the damp clay.
In the end the Russian was happy to get the job done before another delay hit the Foro Italico as he can now put his feet up for a spell
“I’m happy that I was able to finish just before the rain,” said Rublev speaking as the bad weather returned soon after he had secured the vital match point.
“I can rest now, and I can rest tomorrow, and I don’t need to stress waiting until the afternoon, so it’s very lucky when you are able to finish before the rain and you know that most of the players still didn’t play.”
In the Banja Luka semifinals three weeks prior, Rublev had crushed Molcan in straight sets. The Monte Carlo champion put on a another dominant performance to clinch a repeat victory in the Italian city.
Rublev only really felt uneasy when he was serving at 0-1, 15/40 early in the second set, but he recovered with a string of strong serves to avoid break opportunities and hold.
The weather hasn’t helped conditions which have come in for some criticism from the likes on Novak Djokovic.
However, Rublev, who struck 17 winners and made just three unforced errors in the match was able to get the best of the encounter.
“It was tough conditions, but I think I played well,” said Rublev.
“I really like slower courts, especially when it’s weather like this, cold and rainy. I like it even more because I have more time.”
Russian No 2 Rublev is now 12-3 in ATP Masters 1000 events for the year 2023. That is a tally which includes his first title at that level at the Monte-Carlo Masters at the start of the swing.
The next challenge for the title contenders at the Foro Italico is a third-round clash which will be against either 27th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina or Guido Pella.
Rublev has put his hand up as a potential contender for a Grand Slam title at Roland Garros.
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