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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday November 1, 2020

 
Andrey Rublev

Andrey Rublev took sole ownership of the ATP title lead and qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals on Sunday by claiming his fifth title at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna.

Photo Source: Erste Bank

You cannot stop Andrey Rublev, you can only hope to contain him.

Ahose hopes, held by Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego at the onset of today’s Erste Bank Open final in Vienna, were dashed by the scorching-hot Russian, who pushed past the 25-year-old 6-4 6-4 to book his fifth title of 2020.

Tennis Express

Rublev’s title also clinches a berth in the prestigious Nitto ATP Finals, where he will join his compatriot Daniil Medvedev as one of the eight singles qualifiers. For the first time since 2000, two Russian’s will take part in the event, and it’s something that gives Rublev pride.

“I’m happy,” Rublev told reporters in a virtual press conference after the final. “I’m happy that I won the title here. I’m happy that I will compete in London for the first time. I’m really looking forward, there’s still so many things I can improve and I think it’s going to be a really good challenge for me to see what exactly I need to improve to be at that level, to be able to compete against top eight players, so it’s going to be a really good experience for me and I’m really looking forward.”

The Russian has been absolutely on fire since tennis restarted this summer. Rublev has won 23 out of 27 matches, reached the quarterfinals at both Grand Slams he played and – perhaps most remarkably – won his last three ATP 500 titles.

With Sunday’s victory over Sonego, Rublev ties Novak Djokovic on the ATP match win list for 2020 and passes the World No. 1 on the ATP title list with 5.

Rublev is dreaming of even bigger things but doesn’t feel he’s a finished product yet.

"Of course I think all the players, especially who are up and coming young ones, of course I think for all of us it's the goal to be No.1 to try to win Grand Slams,” Rublev said, “but of course I try to be realistic and now the main thing for me, if I want to be a better player is to improve the things that I am missing, that I can do better, and I should do better, so if I want to be on the next level I need to improve them."




The 23-year-old’s current winning streak stands at 10 after winning titles in St. Petersburg and Vienna back-to-back. He says he took four days off after winning St. Petersburg and enjoyed himself on home soil. It’s because of that rest, Rublev says, that he will play Paris next week even though he has already locked up a spot in this year’s Nitto ATP .

“I will play 100 percent Paris. Bodywise I am feeling well because after St. Petersburg I didn’t play nothing, I was resting almost five days,” Rublev said. “I rest completely for four days and Friday afternoon I hit only a little bit here in Vienna, from Friday just for 30-40 minutes." 

Rublev also says that he was lucky not to spend too much time on court this week. He needed just five minutes on Friday, when Jannik Sinner retired with an injury, and his semifinal with Kevin Anderson was also cut short.

"This week I was lucky that Jannik didn't play the match because he was injured, and then yesterday's semifinal, Kevin couldn't finish the match so in the end I was not really playing long matches so physically I feel okay and I'm ready for Paris," he said.

The Russian will face either Hubert Hurkacz or a qualifier at Bercy, where he is the fifth seed.

Rublev’s stirring performance on Sunday ended the Cinderella run of Sonego, but the Italian held his own and continued to impress with his free-wheeling style of play. After stunning World No.1 Djokovic in the quarterfinals, the lucky loser toppled Dan Evans on Saturday in Vienna. All this despite the fact that the World No.42 entered this week’s draw on a 10-match hard court losing streak.

It wasn’t the ending he wanted, but it felt like a beginning for the talented Italian in many ways.

But Sunday, as it has been so often in 2020, was Rublev’s day. He improved to 5-0 in ATP finals this season and continued to prove that he is a viable threat and truly one of the world’s best players right now.

He was asked what he would have thought if somebody would have told him at the start of the season he’d be where he is today, firmly inside the ATP’s Top 10 and qualified for London.

"I mean of course I would not believe, but in the end it happened, and I'm really grateful for that,” Rublev said. “I'm really grateful to all the people who are around me to all my team to all my friends who are supporting me because in the end they make me who I am and without them for sure I would not be able to do it."

 

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