It was an awesome experience for the players at Russia playing under favourable conditions. World No. 10 Andrey Rublev held off a spirited challenge from Denis Shapovalov, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, to get within one win of his fourth ATP title of the year at the 500-level event in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Denis Shapovalov had won the pair’s last two meetings in straight sets and things seemed headed the same way this time as he took the opening set—but Rublev broke early in the second set and never looked back, wrapping up the three-set encounter after two hours and nine minutes on court. It was Rublev’s 33rd win of the year, second only to Novak Djokovic, who has 37 wins this year.
“The match was unreal,” Rublev told ATPTour.com. “The level was high from both sides. Both of us deserved to win. Shapovalov was leading and he had break point in the second set, so everything could have been in two sets for him. One or two points decided the match and today it was for me.”
The Russian is now through to his fourth ATP final of the year and he’s gone 3-0 in his first three, winning back-to-back 250s at Doha and Adelaide in January and a 500 in Hamburg three weeks ago.
Eagerly awaiting him in the final will be Borna Coric, who rallied from a first-set blowout to beat Milos Raonic, 1-6, 6-1, 6-4. Coric broke the Raonic three times in the match—twice in the second set and one last time in the third—after the Canadian had been 29-for-29 on service games going into the semis. Rublev has won all three previous meetings with Coric and has never dropped a set to him.
Over in Cologne, Germany it’s down to Alexander Zverev and Felix Auger-Aliassime, after the two won tough semifinal matches on Saturday to reach the final of the 250-level indoor event.
Zverev was the first to advance, edging Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in two tight sets, 7-5, 7-6 (3), after an hour and 56 minutes. It was a stark contrast to their fourth-round clash at the US Open six weeks ago, where Zverev won in three straight sets after just an hour and 34 minutes, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1. Awaiting the No. 1-seeded German in the final will be No. 3 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, who upset No. 2 seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the second semifinal of the day, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.
The Canadian will be going for his first career ATP title—he’s 0-5 in his career in finals. Zverev has won both of their previous meetings in straight sets. This is their first meeting in 2020.