Young gun Andrey Rublev’s hot streak continued on Friday, when the World No. 8 eliminated defending champion Dominic Thiem 7-6(5), 6-2 at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. The Russian struck 30 winners and saved both break points he faced to take his ATP 500 winning streak to 13 matches after one hour and 34 minutes. Rublev is attempting to capture his third straight trophy at the level, following title runs at the Hamburg European Open and the St. Petersburg Open.
“I came here with the mood that I have nothing to lose,” said Rublev. “I [had] already a really great season. Last year, I already [made] the quarter-finals so I knew it was going to be tough for me to get to the semi-finals. ”I came here with zero expectations, just [wanting] to do my best. To try to fight every match. At the end, I am here in the semi-finals.”
Rublev will face Kevin Anderson for a place in the championship match. The 23-year-old is tied at 1-1 in his ATP Head2Head series against the 2018 champion and won his most recent clash against the South African at Roland Garros earlier this month.
“Last time I played [Kevin] at Roland Garros in completely different conditions. We cannot take that match as an example. Tomorrow is going to be a completely different story,” said Rublev. “It is a fast court, indoors, so he will be really comfortable with his shots, with his serve. “We will see. Kevin has much more experience than me, so I have nothing to lose. I go there to do my best and we will see what is going to happen.”
Thiem was attempting to extend a winning streak of his own. The US Open champion entered his fourth ATP Head2Head clash against Rublev with an 11-match winning run on home soil. Alongside his Vienna title, Thiem won last year’s Generali Open in Kitzbühel to finish 2019 with a 9-0 record in Austria.