Russian qualifier Rublev stuns Federer in Cincinnati

Published by Reuters / Tennismash

Andrey Rublev celebrates his upset victory over Roger Federer in the third round of the Cincinnati Masters (Getty Images)
Upsets continue to plague the ATP Cincinnati Masters draw, with Roger Federer shown the door by Russian qualifier Andrey Rublev.

A fearless Andrey Rublev outfoxed Roger Federer 6-3 6-4 in the third round on Thursday in yet another upset at the ATP Cincinnati Masters.

The Russian qualifier broke the third-seeded Swiss in his first two service games and won 81 per cent of his first serve points to wrap up the stunning result in just over an hour.

Another Russian, No.8 seed Karen Khachanov, was beaten 6-7(3) 6-4 6-2 by Frenchman Lucas Pouille.

The 21-year-old Rublev shed tears of joy after pulling off the biggest win of his career. He has won five matches in a row this week, beating Stan Wawrinka in the previous round and Hamburg champion Nikoloz Basilashvili — who beat Rublev in that final — in the first round of the main draw.

“It is such an amazing feeling when you’re playing a legend like Roger and all these people supporting him until the end,” he told ESPN in an on-court interview. “One day I hope I’m going to feel the same.

“Today I was just trying to do my best and was thinking in my head that I need to play every point until the end no matter what.”

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The win sets up an all Russian quarterfinal with ninth seed Daniil Medvedev, who thumped Jan-Lennard Struff for the loss of just three games.

Federer has won the Cincinnati tournament seven times — more than any other player — and uses it as a springboard to the US Open.

He committed 16 unforced errors against the 70th-ranked Rublev, who raised both fists and wiped a teary eye in celebration after Federer’s forehand sailed long to end it.

Struggling with his serve, Federer was broken twice in the first set.

“And there you have it. It set the tone for the match a little bit,” Federer said. “He was super clean — offense, defense, serving well. He didn’t give me anything.”

Federer, who lost a classic five-set Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic, still thinks he’s in good shape heading into the US Open despite the upset in Cincinnati.

In other results, 11th seed Roberto Bautista Agut brushed aside qualifier Miomir Kecmanovic to take his place in the quarterfinals where he will face Richard Gasquet, a 7-6(6) 603 winner over Diego Schwartzman.

No.16 seed David Goffin and Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka also advanced to the last eight, with wins over Adrian Mannarino and Alex de Minaur respectively.

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