Andrey Rublev continued his hot streak to produce another emphatic victory at the BNP Paribas Open third round clash. Taking on home favourite Frances Tiafoe, the Russian raced to a 6-3, 6-4 victory in just 70 minutes. Rublev’s victory run now stands at 11, following triumphs in Marseille and Dubai. The Russian also avenged a five-set loss to Tiafoe in the pair’s only previous ATP Head2Head clash at the 2021 US Open.
“To play Frances is never easy and I’m happy to be through today and through to the fourth round for the first time in Indian Wells,” said Rublev after the match. “We’ll see what’s going to happen. Now [there’s] no pressure, I’ve done better than ever here, so now I just need to try to relax and play tennis.”
Earlier, the match did not start the way Rublev would have liked, as Tiafoe broke in the opening game. The Russian, however, quickly found a way to get back on level terms at 2-2. He continued to build on the momentum to gain a second break at the end of the set to go 1-0 up. A single break for Rublev was enough to decide the fate of the second set, as the home favourite failed to cause an upset in front of the local support.
Rublev was happy with how he served during the match, which he believes played a huge part in him getting the victory. The Russian had won 82 per cent (28/34) points behind his first delivery and fired seven aces in the match, as per Infosys ATP Stats.
“When you feel your serve, and you feel that you can go full power and are most likely going to make it, of course it’s going to give you extra confidence,” he said. “Because then you know you can start to dictate the rally, even if the guy is going to return well. It gives you huge advantages.”
In the fourth round, Rublev will face 2021 Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz, who got the better of American Steve Johnson 7-6, 6-3 on Tuesday. It is to be noted that the Russian survived a thrilling third-set tie-break in the Dubai semi-finals against Hurkacz not so long ago. It will be interesting to see how their latest battle will turn out to be.
“I was thinking after the Dubai match, when am I going to see him again?” said Rublev. “But it’s tennis, it’s fun, we cannot control this, so we have to face each other tomorrow again and hopefully it’s going to be another good match.”