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Rublev and Fucsovics to Renew 2021 Rivalry in Miami Open Third Round

No. 4-seeded Andrey Rublev will face Marton Fucsovics in a Miami Open rematch of the Rotterdam final. EPA-EFE/KOEN SUYK

By Ricky Dimon

At last week’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Andrey Rublev defeated Marton Fucsovics 7-5, 6-2 in the quarterfinals. It was Rublev’s second victory of the season in the head-to-head series, having previously gotten the best of Fucsovics 7-6(4), 6-4 in the Rotterdam title match.

Interestingly enough, they were also supposed to face each other in the Doha quarterfinals one week prior to Dubai, but Fucsovics withdrew. That would have made it four meetings in a single month alone.

Needless to say, the Hungarian is tired of being matched up with Rublev. And he admitted as much following his Dubai loss.

“I hope I don’t play you anymore this year,” Fucsovics quipped as he walked off the court.

The world No. 40 will not get his wish.

Andrey Rublev of Russia (R) holds his trophy after winning the final of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament against Marton Fucsovics of Hungary in Rotterdam, Netherlands. EPA-EFE/Koen Suyk

As luck would have it in the very next tournament, Rublev and Fucsovics will meet again in the Miami Open third round on Monday. Each player had to win only one match apiece to make it happen. Rublev did so with ease, beating Tennys Sandgren 6-1, 6-2 on Saturday. Fucsovics had a much tougher time with Thanasi Kokkinakis, surviving 7-6(3), 6-7(4), 6-4 after three hours and 11 minutes.

Rublev leads the overall head-to-head series 3-2, including 3-1 at the ATP level. The eighth-ranked Russian has won three in a row against Fucsovics since taking losses in 2016 (Barcelona qualifying) and 2017 (Davis Cup).

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why Fucsovics wants no part of this matchup. Rublev led the ATP Tour with five titles in 2020 and he now leads the tour with 17 match wins in 2021. In other words, this does not set up well for the underdog to turn the tide.

This Rublev-Fucsovics marathon is beginning to invoke memories of Marin Cilic vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu in 2008. They squared off six times that year, including five times in the span of just over two months from late April to early July.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.