Andrey Rublev tamed Norway’s Caspter Ruud 6-4, 6-2 on Saturday at the Hamburg European Open to move one victory away from a third ATP title this season .

The Russian, 2019 tournament runner-up who claimed January trophies in Doha and Adelaide, will battle on Sunday against Stefanos Tsitsipas after the second seed defeated Chile’s Christian Garin 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 in just over two hours.

After three straight-set wins this week, Tsitsipas lost his first set on the way to victory and his third final of the season (won Marseille, lost Dubai).

The Greek will be making his 12th career ATP finals appearance (5-6) and his fourth on clay (1-2); he is seeking a second career clay trophy after Estoril, 2019.

The second seed improved to 22-8 this season.

Garin, ranked 22nd, is a clay powerhouse with a pair of ATP titles on the surface in 2020 and was 5-0 in career semi-finals before meeting Tsitsipas.

The South American took the honours back-to-back in February before the mass tennis virus lockdown, winning Cordoba and Rio events.

Rublev and Tsitsipas stand level at one win apiece in their series which began in 2018. 

Rublev earned his 25th win of the season, putting him second behind the 31 of Novak Djokovic.

The Russian ranked 14th to the 30th of the rapidly improving Ruud, broke five times in the 83-minute encounter on clay under the closed roof at the Rothenbaum club.

“The match was really tough. I think everyone saw how tough it was, how (many) long rallies we had, how many chances both of us had,” Rublev said.

“It could [have been] easily 6-4, 6-2 to Casper’s side, but I was a little bit lucky. 

“In the most important moments and at the end, the match was for me. I am really happy with the way I played today.”

Rublev defeated Ruud in their only previous meeting, here in the 2019 second round.

Ruud was playing his fourth semi-final from five clay events this season; he won the first title of his career on clay in Argentina in February and also reached the Santiago final.

The Scandinavian tested Novak Djokovic a week ago in the Rome semis and leads the ATP with 15 clay victories this season.

“Casper did such a great run this week,” the Russian winner said. “He did such a great run last week in Rome… lost a good match against Djokovic. 

“He is really on a high level now and I wish him good luck at Roland Garros.”

Main photo:- Andrey Rublev in Hamburg action, by ATP


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