Andrey Rublev wins Madrid Masters in hard fought tussle against Felix Auger Aliassime

Andrey Rublev produced a fine display of tennis to defeat Felix Auger Aliassime 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 to win the Madrid Masters. It was the second title for the Russian who eliminated Nr 2 seed Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter finals.

Rublev – who had suffered with illness during the tournament – produced a remarkable turnaround, not only in the final but had lost four consecutive matches coming into Madrid and bounced back to oust world No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter-final.

“No words. If you knew what I have been through the last nine days, you would not imagine that I would be able to win a title. I’m incredibly happy,” said Rublev.

“I’m incredibly happy. That one week changed everything because now it looks like I was not losing the last weeks in the first round!

“Now will change everything, because now looks like I was not losing the last six weeks in the first rounds.

“I have to give full credit to the doctors. They were doing some tricky things and I was able to at least be able to play.

“I would say this is the most proud title of my career,” Rublev said. “I was almost dead every day. I was not sleeping at night. The last three, four days I didn’t sleep.”

Auger-Aliassime, who had completed just three matches in this tournament thanks to two retirements and a walkover, took the opening set, picking up four games quickly as his serve and forehand started clicking.

It soon became clear that the Russian was indeed not 100% healthy, breathing heavily and looking rather pale as the first set wore on. Regardless, he rallied back and earned a break point with the set at 4-5

Auger Aliassime had been serving well the entire set. In the final game, he hit an unstoppable serve, following it up with a simple volley at the net to bring up a second set point, which he took with an easy finish.

Rublev had previously won three three-setters against the 23-year-old in previous battles, meaning that the clash was far from over and the crowd in Madrid were reminded of that in the second set.

Rublev looked immediately more comfortable in the second set. He seemed to regain some much-needed confidence as his coaching box urged him on.

The set largely went the way of the serve as the pair traded games. While Rublev looked shaken in the first set, he was much more content now and delivered some excellent serves while using his forehand to open the court.

At 5-4 Rublev was closing in on taking the match all the way but Auger-Aliassime delivered a 40-0 game, which saw a Rublev forehand land out, frustrating the increasingly verbal Russian.

Yet Rublev managed to clinch the next two games, potentially thanks to the words of his agent and former player Galo Blanco. 

The third set continued the trend of the second, which was Rublev’s rising confidence and Auger-Aliassime’s presence steadily shrinking. Still, the Canadian refused to back down and produced a back-and-forth final set.

Roles had been very much reversed with the young Canadian beginning to look tired and feel his legs while Rublev’s energy grew.

Auger-Aliassime began to unleash some big forehands but Rublev’s own forehand held and his composure won the battle. At 30-30, they were nearing a set tie-break but a double fault from the Canadian in the deciding moments gave an emotional Rublev the victory.

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