Rublev Saves 1 M.P. In Tomic Thriller
It looked as though Andrey Rublev’s stay at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters was going to be short-lived when the Russian trailed Bernard Tomic 4-6, 1-3 (0/40) on Court Rainier III. But the 21-year-old battled well, saving one match point to beat the Aussie 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(6) in the first round of qualifying on Saturday.
Aiming to build on third-round appearances at the first two ATP Masters 1000 events of the year in Indian Wells and Miami, Rublev withstood 17 aces and won 79 per cent of first-serve points (58/73) to complete an inspired comeback. Tomic held one match point at 6/5 in the final-set tie-break, before Rublev reeled off three consecutive points to book a meeting with Ugo Humbert. The #NextGenATP Frenchman also recovered from a set down to beat countryman Florent Diep 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Another Next Gen ATP Finals contender making his way into the final qualifying round is Alexei Popyrin. The Sydney native, who advanced to the Australian Open third round in January, edged Leonardo Mayer 7-6(5), 2-6, 7-6(2). Popyrin will face Elias Ymer of Sweden for a spot in the main draw. Ymer needed just 67 minutes to charge past Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1, 6-3.
Cordoba Open champion Juan Ignacio Londero and Aljaz Bedene both scored victories against Monegasque opposition. Londero defeated Romain Arneodo 6-0, 6-4, while Bedene moved past Hugo Nys 6-2, 6-4. Arneodo and Nys will once again feature in the doubles draw, with a first-round clash against Alexander Zverev and Mischa Zverev.
Italian wild card Julian Ocleppo ended Mischa Zverev’s hopes of also reaching the singles main draw, scoring a 7-6(2), 7-6(4) win over the 31-year-old German after one hour and 44 minutes. Ocleppo is joined in the final round of qualifying by countryman Lorenzo Sonego. After splitting the opening two sets with Yoshihito Nishioka, Sonego raced through the final set to earn a 6-2, 4-6, 6-0 victory.