Andrey Rublev played a brilliant opening set against Daniil Medvedev but was second best in the key moments in an eventual 6-4, 6-2 defeat on Monday night at the Nitto ATP Finals. While the fifth seed was pleased with his level during the first set, he was left to rue the few untimely errors that cost him.
“The feeling was that as soon as we had a rally, I was playing well and I had great chances,” said Rublev, who missed out on seven break points in his last two return games of the opening set. “I was not able to use my serve really well to open the court. When he had important moments, I think almost all the break points he saved with a good serve.
“I had some chances, a drive volley that I missed. I had an opportunity [at] 5-4, 0/30, I had quite an easy drive forehand, and I didn’t hit it clean, and the rally continued. He played really well. Also the [service game] that I lost in the first set, I missed two easy balls. One was a backhand in the middle of the court, then break point. Those things in the end make a huge difference.”
The defeat dropped Rublev to 2-7 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series with Medvedev, but he is becoming more accustomed to facing the unique challenge his close friend presents on the court.
“I would say the more I play with him, the better I feel, because I start to get used to those things and get less crazy compared our first matches,” Rublev said. “The more I play with him, the more it gets normal for me that it’s coming [back] one extra ball, one extra ball. But in the end, today was quite easy for him.”
Medvedev Gains Rublev Revenge In Top-Class Turin Opener
While Rublev managed to defeat Medvedev in a third-set tie-break last year in Turin, he can only hope to take lessons in defeat this time.
“In general I feel that we always have some close matches,” he said. “The more I play, even if the score is different, from the baseline I feel every time better and better against him.
“The question is more about the mental part in those important moments, to keep focussed, to use those chances when I have these balls, drive forehands, whatever, volleys. When he gives you these extra balls, be focussed to finish these points.”