Match starts at 6 am EDT.
Hamburg European Open
Sunday, July 28, 2019
Andrey Rublev over Nikoloz Basilashvili
I must admit that I haven’t given either of these two players the appropriate amount of respect this week. For Rublev, after his monumental win over top-seeded Dominic Thiem, I figured he was due for a bit of a letdown and would go down to Pablo Carreno Busta, a terrific dirtballer in his own right. But I was wrong, as Rublev rebounded from a first set loss to get better and better as the match went along. By the third game of the third set, Rublev was clearly the better player, and he walked away with a hard-fought 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory. For Basilashvili, I still believe he’s overranked, but after wins against Juan Ignacio Londero and Jeremy Chardy, I figured he’d meet his match against No. 5 ranked Sascha Zverev, especially with that match coming on German turf. But Basilashvili, the defending champion here, clearly feels at home in Hamburg, and, after saving two match points, eked out a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 nail-biter over Zverev. The German didn’t have one of his better weeks, but any win over a Top Five player is earned, and as sure as the moon follows the sun, Basilashvili earned this one.
Once again, I’m picking against Basilashvili. If that was a cause for concern, it certainly hasn’t shown in the Georgian’s game. He’s won because he’s played better than his opponents, and if he beats the steadfast Russian here, I will salute him and respect him. But I think Rublev is playing the best tennis of his limited career right now. He’s battling and fighting. He’s cracking his forehand from anywhere and everywhere. He’s running and sprinting. And he’s winning. I expect one more win for the Russian, as he looks destined to win this tournament.
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