Melbourne: Andrey Rublev rallied back from the brink to dump Holger Rune out of the Australian Open and book a second quarter-final at Melbourne Park courtesy of a lucky net cord on match point that sealed a 6-3 3-6 6-3 4-6 7-6 (11-9) cliffhanger on Monday.
Fifth seed Rublev had to do it the hard way, having been 5-2 down in the final set at Rod Laver Arena and needing to save two match points to take contest into a 10-point tiebreak of unrelenting tension.
He slipped 5-0 behind in the breaker but roared back to lead 9-7 before ninth seed Rune saved two match points in a late twist.
It took the net cord to separate them, with Rublev’s final return clipping the net and popping over on the third match point, leaving the Dane no chance.
“(Tennis is) not a rollercoaster, it’s like they put a gun to your head,” Rublev said on court. “I think a rollercoaster is a lot easier, man.” “I never in my life was able to win matches like this, this was the first time in my life I was able to win a match like this.
Rublev will meet the winner of nine-times champion Novak Djokovic and home favourite Alex de Minaur, who play in the night session.
“No-one wants to face Novak, I’d rather be in any other part of the draw,” added Rublev wryly.