Fixture: Andrey Rublev vs Hubert Hurkacz
Date: 17 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Round: Second round (Round of 32)
Venue: Rome, Italy
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €3,465,045
Match timing: 2.30 pm CEST, 6 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN | India - Sony Six
Andrey Rublev vs Hubert Hurkacz preview
Rublev has had a great season in 2020 so far, having reached the fourth round at the Australian Open and the quarterfinals at the recently-concluded US Open. The Russian made ample improvements to his game during the COVID-19-enforced lockdown, and came out of the extended break as a much steadier player.
The Russian's new game, however, hasn't been tested fully on clay yet. In his opener against Argentina's Facundo Bagnis, the World No. 12 struggled to break his opponent's serve despite having several opportunities to do so.
While Rublev won in straight sets, his level was considerably lower than what he had shown at Flushing Meadows a week ago.
World No. 31 Hubert Hurkacz, meanwhile, will be looking to get his 2020 campaign back on track in Rome. Hurkacz has been in a bit of a slump since the ATP Cup in January, having lost eight of his last 13 tour matches.
However, the Pole showed some signs of resurgence in his first-round match against Dan Evans on Tuesday. Hurkacz was taken the distance by his British opponent, but he came out on top in the deciding set - where the 23-year-old won 75% of his second return points.
Andrey Rublev vs Hubert Hurkacz head-to-head
The head-to-head between the two players currently stands at 0-0 as Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz are yet to play each other on the tour.
Andrey Rublev vs Hubert Hurkacz prediction
Hubert Hurkacz has impressed many tennis fans with his effortless style of play. While the lanky Pole does not hit with as much power as his height would suggest, his groundstrokes off both wings are well-balanced and accurate.
However, Hurkacz's efficient game will still face a tough time when pitted against Andrey Rublev's aggressive style of play. The Russian had a knack of being hyper-aggressive in his early years, but has now developed a steady and consistent baseline game.
The 2020 USO quarterfinalist by his own admission doesn't prefer any particular surface, but his best results have come in claycourt tournaments. On the contrary, Hurkacz has not shown as much promise on the slow surface, and might find it difficult to get past the Russian on Thursday.
Prediction: Andrey Rublev to win in three sets.Published 17 Sep 2020, 01:45 IST