Andrey Rublev admits that he will have to play at his absolute best to have a chance against Novak Djokovic in the 2023 Australian Open quarterfinals.
The fifth-seeded Russian played one of the best matches of his career in the fourth round on Monday when he snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against Denmark's Holger Rune. After saving two match points in the deciding set, Rublev fought back from 0-5 in the tiebreak and ended the match with a lucky net cord, winning 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(9).
The match lasted for three hours and 37 minutes, with both players breaking each other five times. While Rublev hit 22 aces, 58 winners, and 37 unforced errors, the Dane ended with 8 aces, 44 winners, and 60 unforced errors. This is the second time that Rublev has reached the last eight in Melbourne.
The 25-year-old will next take on nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Speaking at his press conference after eliminating Rune, Rublev acknowledged the mammoth task that lies ahead of him. He praised the Serb as one of the best players in the history of the sport and stated that he will fight for every ball in their fourth tour-level meeting tomorrow.
"I know that Novak is a very tough player to beat, especially in the Slams," Rublev said. "He has, I don't know, the best experience to win these kinds of matches. He's one of the best in history. The only chance I have is if I play my best tennis, just fight for every ball, and that's it. That's the only chance."
Asked whether Djokovic's hamstring injury was on his mind, the sixth-ranked Russian said:
"No, no. Not at all. I don't know. He's playing. He's winning."
Djokovic, who leads 2-1 head-to-head against Rublev, outperformed home favorite Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 in the fourth round.
"I am shaking and happy" - Andrey Rublev after his five-set win over Holger Rune
Andrey Rublev was ecstatic after winning his fourth-round match against Holger Rune in five sets. The Russian made his way to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the seventh time in his career. However, he is yet to reach the last four.
In his on-court interview, Rublev expressed his joy at winning a difficult match against 2022 Paris Masters winner Rune.
"I never in my life was able to win matches like this," Andrey Rublev said. "This is the first-ever time that I won something like this, especially in a very special tournament, the Australian Open, to be in the quarter-finals. So it’s something I will remember for sure all my life. I have no words, I am shaking and happy.”
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