Andrey Rublev survived a scare before progressing to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships quarter-finals on Wednesday.
The No. 2 seed fought back from a set down against Soonwoo Kwon of South Korea to advance 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.
The Russian, had to take a jump-seat flight from France after winning the title in Marseille to make it to the tournament only hours before his first match on Tuesday — a straight-sets win over Dan Evans — and he certainly looked tired as Kwon broke his serve in the very first game and kept his nerve to take the opening set.
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Rublev found his gears in the second, however, and ‘bageled’ Kwon to level up the clash. And the world No. 7 soon broke again in the third and never looked back.
“It was much tougher today because I played last night and now I am playing again during the day,’ he said. “The heat is there and everything is much faster.
“In the first set I was not moving well and Soonwoo was playing really aggressive. I needed to adapt, and I started playing better and better and I managed to find my game and win. I was able to win also because I was able to control my emotions and play well.”
Next up is Mackenzie McDonald in the quarter-finals after the American — who defeated defending champion Aslan Karatsev in the opening round — beat Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic 6-4, 7-6. That is not a matchup Rublev is relishing.
“He destroyed me in the Australian Open a few years ago. He gave me no chance,” Rublev said. “It will be interesting, he has beaten the past champion and it will be tough.”