The one-hour and 42-minute match saw the third-ranked Greek convert his only break point of the match in the first set and take the lead. However, World No. 7 Rublev stepped up and broke his opponent thrice over the remaining two sets, finishing with 36 winners. The head-to-head record between the two players stands at 6-5 in favor of the Greek.
Although the 2019 ATP Finals winner, Tsitsipas, praised the 25-year-old Russian in a post-match press conference, he also said something that came as a surprise to many. The Greek star suggested that Rublev won the match with the help of his "few tools." The 24-year-old also stated that he felt like the better player on the court.
"I was serving well. I found the spots, you know? I mean, he's a good returner. Nothing to take away from him," Stefanos Tsitsipas said. "He played a lot of returns in. I tried to mix it up at the end. I didn't really feel threatened. I just wanted to try something new, to see if it might work and throw him off a little bit. Yeah, we had a very long game towards the end where I kept trying new things. I can say things were coming off the racquet pretty good from his side."
"It's a shame. I feel like the better player. I felt like I could do more with the ball today. I felt like I could just be much more creative. I don't even have to say that. I think it's quite obvious. But, yeah, he prevailed with the few tools that he has. He was able to really take advantage of them and win today," he added.
"That was my goal from the beginning of the year" - Stefanos Tsitsipas on finishing as a top-3 player
Stefanos Tsitsipas' chances of becoming the World No. 1 by the end of the season were crushed by Novak Djokovic in their first match. The 24-year-old Greek currently sits in the third position but could be replaced by fourth-ranked Casper Ruud if the Norwegian makes it to the finals of the ongoing event in Turin.
In a press conference on Friday, Tsitsipas revealed that finishing in the top 3 was his objective since the season started.
"That was my goal from the beginning of the year, which I was still kind of not fully convinced that I can do it because of my elbow injury at the end of the previous year," Tsitsipas said. "But after having a few good results at the beginning of the year, I thought maybe I can actually do it this year and break into the top 3 again."