Andrey Rublev reaches first grass-court final in Halle

The fourth-seeded Russian was stretched to the limits but survived the contest against qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili at the Noventi Open semifinals.

Andrey Rublev in a file photo; Credit: ATP Tour Twitter

Andrey Rublev continued his impressive run of late, booking a place in his first ATP Tour grass-court final at the Noventi Open on Saturday. The fourth-seeded Russian was stretched to the limits, but survived the contest against qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in one hour and 51 minutes at the OWL Arena in Halle. Rublev will next face Ugo Humbert of France in the championship match on Sunday.

“It’s my first final on grass and in Halle,” said Rublev. “I think I can play on every surface and I will try my best again tomorrow. I had good opportunities to break him (Basilashvili) in the second set, some quite easy forehands and I stressed a little showing my emotions. I then came back and stayed calm, until the last game. But I won.”

Ugo Humbert had beaten Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 earlier on Saturday. With both players enjoying a fine run of games, the final is set to be a thrilling affair for the fans. Earlier in the day, Rublev started briskly in the first set, racing out to a 5-0 advantage after only 19 minutes. Basilashvili came back strongly in the second set and took advantage of a forehand mis-hit from Rublev to break at 3-2 before seeing out the set.

The decider was a neck-to-neck battle, with Rublev having to wait patiently to get his break. Basilashvili mis-timed a backhand to be broken in the sixth game, and from there on it was all Rublev as he won the set and match with little difficulty to reach the final.

Rublev has won his past four 500-level finals – three in 2020 at the Hamburg European Open, the St. Petersburg Open and the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, and one in 2021 at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. He will be heading into the final as the favourite to lift the trophy.

Berrettini in Queen’s Club final

Top seed Matteo Berrettini was at his usual best, continuing his fine week at the cinch Championships, beating Alex de Minaur 6-4, 6-4, to reach the final at the Queen’s Club on Saturday in his debut at the tournament. The Italian has won an ATP Tour title on grass at the MercedesCup in 2019. Berrettini, who is yet to drop a set in London, defeating British pair Andy Murray and Daniel Evans en route to the final.

“That was the goal of the week [making the final], and now I have one more step. It is a great achievement, especially for the history of this tournament. I am really happy because to beat Alex today, I had to play my best tennis,” Berrettini said.

“The mentality is that I always think I can win my service games. I know that I have a big weapon with my serve and first shot. If I sleep too well it means something is off ahead of the final. I have to be nervous and tight a little bit, otherwise the adrenaline does not kick in and it is tougher to play,” Berrettini added.

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