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Amazing shot propels Rublev past Bublik into Wimbledon quarterfinals

A five-set thriller between Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev in the Wimbledon fourth round was worthy of a spectacular conclusion.

And that is exactly what it delivered.

With the match still in the balance as Rublev served for the win at 5-4, 30-15 in set five, Bublik sent a cracking backhand down the line that seemed on its way to being an outright winner. But it was not. In improbable fashion, a diving Rublev not only got a racket on Bublik’s backhand missile but also made his ensuing forehand squash shot for a ridiculous winner of his own.

It left Bublik–and the Centre Court crowd–in disbelief.

It also left Rublev one point from victory, which he immediately clinched with his 21st ace to triumph 7-5, 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-7(5), 6-4.

“That is one of the great shots we have seen here in years,” is what John McEnroe had to say in the commentary booth.

“I think you’ve just hit one of the most extraordinary shots the tennis world has ever seen,” on-court interviewer Annabel Croft told Rublev.

“Probably it was the most lucky shot ever,” the Russian responded.

“The feeling that at least I have one amazing point in my career,” Rublev joked at his post-match presser. “But the feeling is that obviously all my life I didn’t know how to dive. I was couple of times in the past years thinking, ‘Oh, now on grass, at least try in practice; try without the ball to do it.’ I couldn’t. I was too scared.

“Then in the match (on Friday) against (David) Goffin, I don’t know, somehow it came natural. I did a real dive. Then today was this one–I don’t know, (a) one-leg dive; something. I don’t know how you can call it.

“I don’t know how I made it. I didn’t even see the ball; I didn’t even see how I hit it. I didn’t even see how it went. I realized it after when the people started to scream and I see the face of Sascha, then I realize that I made it somehow.”

One year after being banned from Wimbledon along with the entire contingent of Russian players, Rublev now finds himself in the quarters for the first time in his career at this event. The world No. 7 will face either Novak Djokovic or Hubert Hurkacz as he continues to seek a first-ever slam semifinal berth.

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