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Ricky’s Preview and Pick for the Rotterdam ATP Tennis Final: Rublev vs. Fucsovics

Andrey Rublev of Russia in action against Andy Murray of Britain on the third day of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 03 March 2021. The ATP tournament in Ahoy takes place without an audience due to the corona pandemic. EPA-EFE/KOEN SUYK

By Ricky Dimon

The latest achievement in Andrey Rublev’s incredible 500-point winning streak is an appearance in the final of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. With one more victory, Rublev will extend his streak at the 500 level to four consecutive titles and 20 straight match wins.

Standing in his way on Sunday is a much more unlikely finalist, qualifier Marton Fucsovics. Whereas Rublev is competing in a fourth straight 500 final (triumphed last year in Hamburg, Vienna, and St. Petersburg), Fucsovics is playing in an ATP final for the third time in his career (won Geneva in 2018; finished runner-up in Sofia in 2019). The 59th-ranked Hungarian had to qualify just to get into the main draw, after which he ousted Reilly Opelka, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Tommy Paul, and Borna Coric.

Marton Fucsovics Hungary during the semi-final against Borna Coric of Croatia on the sixth day of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands, 06 March 2021. EPA-EFE/Koen Suyk

Thus continues fine form for Fucsovics, who has won seven matches at the last three Grand Slams (two at the 2020 U.S. Open and 2021 Australian Open, three at the 2020 French Open).

Outside of slams, nobody has been hotter than Rublev over the past 14 months. The eighth-ranked Russian led the tour with five titles in 2020 and he has already helped his country to the ATP Cup trophy this year. Rublev is 12-1 for his 2021 campaign following Rotterdam defeats of Marcos Giron, Andy Murray, Jeremy Chardy, and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Like Fucsovics, the 23-year-old has surrendered only one set.

Sunday marks the fourth career ATP-level meeting between the two players. They have split a pair of clay-court encounters; Fucsovics prevailed 6-2, 6-4, 5-7, 2-6, 6-3 in a 2017 Davis Cup playoff rubber before Rublev won 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(3) in round four at Roland Garros this past fall.

On a hard court and in the final of a 500 event, this rematch could be even tougher for Fucsovics.

“Rublev is playing unbelievable nowadays, especially in the ATP 500s,” the 29-year-old commented. “He didn’t lose a match for a long time. It is going to be an interesting final. I will try to play my best and enjoy this moment.”

Either way it has been an amazing week for Fucsovics, but Rublev is on fire and he seems to be the only player in Rotterdam who can power his way through these alarmingly slow conditions. From a physical standpoint the underdog can at least stay on the court with Rublev, but the No. 4 seed’s confidence is off the chart right now and his experience in these moments should give him an edge in any pressure situations if Fucsovics manages to keep the match close.

Pick: Rublev in 2

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.