10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Andrey Rublev Rallies By Holger Rune for Maiden Masters Title in Monte-Carlo

Photo credit: Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters Facebook

Staring at the service box, Andrey Rublev realized masterful comeback vision.

Rublev rocketed an ace out wide to wrap a rousing Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters final comeback in style then fell flat on his back bathing in red clay and soaking in the biggest title of his career.

A resilient Rublev rallied from 1-4 down in the decider repelling a jittery, weary Holger Rune 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 to capture his maiden Masters 1000 championship on the red clay of the Monte-Carlo Country Club.

On the brink of going down a double break in the decider, Rublev could see his Masters hope dissipating in the dirt.

The world No. 6 kept the faith, continued firing his forehand and even tossed in a couple of timely topspin lobs to completely flip the script of a set that seemed formality.

Seeing his 19-year-old opponent blink at the finish line, Rublev realized his opportunity and ran with it reeling off six of the final seven games to collect his 13th career title and improve to 4-2 in career clay-court finals.

“I don’t know what to say, to be honest,” Rublev said. “I’m just happy finally struggling so much to win this freaking 1000 tournament. Finally.

“I don’t know, [I was] losing 4-1, love-30, saving break points thinking that it’s no chance to win and somehow I did it. I don’t know man.”

One labeled a hot head who had a history of coming up short in the clutch, Rublev shattered that stereotype with calm resolve—and a big assist from Rune, who nearly had his hands on the title trophy only to struggle with apparent cramping, begin barking at his box and played a horrific service game, slapping successive smashes into the net, belting a ball out of the stadium and double-faulting away the decisive break at 6-5.

Afterward, a beaming Rublev gave credit to both his teenage opponent and the capacity crowd, which included Prince Albert and Princess Charlene on hand to present the trophies.

“I want to congratulate Holger: you’re too freaking young man and you already have a 1000 title please give me one time to win it,” Rublev said before addressing fans directly.

“The last thing I just want to say a big thanks to all of you guys because being from the country where I am and to have international support all over the world it means a lot so thank you so much guys, thank you,” Rublev said.

It was the third time in the tournament Rublev rallied from a set down to prevail following his 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 comeback conquest of American No. 1 Taylor Fritz in yesterday’s semifinals. 

Last November,  Rune rallied from a break down in the decisive set and fought off six break points in the fierce final game to dethrone defending champion Novak Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 and capture his maiden Masters championship in a pulsating Paris Masters final thriller last November.

Today, Rune carried a 7-2 record vs. the Top 10 going back to that Paris title run onto court and put himself in position to take the title but could not close. Rune conceded he was drained from his 1-6, 7-5, 7-5 semifinal victory over Jannik Sinner on Saturday evening. 

“I obviously feel like it was a long match yesterday,” Rune said. “We finished late. You know, I didn’t have much time to recover.

“It is what it is. I gave it all. Didn’t have any more in me. I did what I could, and I was very close.”

The truth is, Rune may well rue this as a major opportunity squandered—and a haunting case of deja vu comeback from Rublev.

“I was definitely in control in the third set and also I would say mostly in the first set as well. But again, didn’t manage to close it out,” Rune said. “Disappointing, but again, it’s part of tennis.

“Just got to see what I did wrong, what I can do better, and move on, because, you know, the most important tournament of the clay season is the French Open, so, you know, if I can prepare myself as best as possible for that one, that’s what matters.”

This final was a rematch of the pulsating Australian Open round of 16 that saw Rublev save two match points and rally from love-5 down in the fifth-set tiebreaker to ruin Rune’s quarterfinal hopes with a stirring 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(9) Melbourne victory.

The tiebreak was a heartbreak for Rune in Melbourne, but today in Monte-Carlo Rune’s self-sabotage shattered his title hopes.