Andrey Rublev proves him wrong in Washington Opener | ATP Tour

Despite being the top seed at Citi Open, Andrei Rublev didn’t expect a long stay in Washington, DC once he learned that the #NextGenATP star Jack Draper was his opening opponent.

But with a can’t-lose mindset, Rublev dominated the Briton in a 6-4, 6-2 victory on Tuesday, allowing him to conserve energy during a hot week in the United States.

“To be honest, I thought today… it was definitely a tough match, but I thought I would most likely lose the match,” he revealed after the win. “I had that feeling because he almost beat me in Madrid. Today I went on the court to do my best and I said from the beginning that maybe, most likely, I will lose the match.”

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Draper left a lasting impression in his first ATP Head2Head meeting Mutua Madrid Open in May, when Rublev went 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. But there would be no late drama in the DC sun as Rublev controlled the second round match throughout.

“In the end, I’m happy that I was able to win in straight sets,” he said.

The top seed converted his seventh break point in the opening set before securing an early break in the second. Draper earned his only two break points of the match as he struggled for an immediate reply, but Rublev made up for the mistakes that led to the opener as he held for 3-1 in the decider. He dropped just three first serve points in the one hour and 23 minute match and posted an 89% (24/27) win rate.

Rublev’s respect for his opponent was clear as he remained on high alert throughout and showed frustration at not being able to increase his lead. He eventually secured a second break to take the sting out of the match before serving out the match coolly.

Asked if his low expectations were the key to victory, Rublev wasn’t so sure. “I don’t know because sometimes when I think like that, I lose games too,” he said. “You better not ask me. My mind is out of order,” he joked.

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The win improves Rublev to 33-11 on the season and 19-4 on hard courts. He is aiming for a fourth title of the season (Marseille, Dubai, Belgrade), a mark that would tie him with the Spaniards Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz for common most in year.

He will next face the winner of the 13th-seeded All-American match Maxime Cressy and Jack Sock. Sock fought back from two downs in the opening set to prevail David Goffin 7-6(4), 6-4 on Tuesday.

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