It's the best title of his career. On Sunday April 16, Russian Andrey Rublev, 6th in the world, won the Monte-Carlo tennis tournament, defeating Dane Holger Rune (5-7, 6-2, 7-5). He signs his first success in a Masters 1000, after having failed twice in the final of this most prestigious category after the Grand Slams – in Monaco, already, in 2021, and in Cincinnati (United States), the same year.
In the deciding set, the 25-year-old nearly trailed 5-1 before turning the tables to his advantage. "At one point I thought I had no more chance of winning," he slipped the outcome of the meeting.
"I don't know how I did it. I tried to play until the end because my last two finals [of Masters 1000] I had given up. This time, I told myself that even if I had to lose, I had to at least fight until the end. »
Deprived of the flag and the national anthem because of the sanctions imposed after the invasion of Ukraine, Andrey Rublev was able to benefit from the support of the public. Among the few Russian athletes to have publicly denounced the war, he thanked the stands: "Coming from the country where I come from, to receive such international support, it is enormous. »
Three match points and an ace
Andrey Rublev and Holger Rune had faced each other twice: the Dane won the Masters 1000 in Paris in 2002, in the quarter-finals, before winning the tournament against Novak Djokovic. In January, it was Rublev who emerged victorious in their Australian Open Round of 16 duel; after saving two match points, he received help from the net to score the final point.
On Sunday, the match between these two fiery sluggers did not keep all its promises, especially compared to the Australian showdown. After an exchange of face-offs midway through the first set, Holger Rune won the first set, benefiting from a big unforced error from his opponent on the break point of the last game.
The Russian immediately took the lead in the second set to lead 2-0, but the Dane came back to 2-2. In the process, Andrey Rublev chained four games to equalize at one set everywhere. In the last set, the young Dane seemed to fly to victory, at 3-0 and having a double break point to lead 5-1.
Finally, it was the Russian who lined up three games in a row, then managed the break by taking advantage of the irritation of his opponent who notably missed two smashes in a row. At 6-5 in his favor, Andrey Rublev served for the match: he gave himself three match points in a row and concluded with an ace on the second.