Fixture: (5) Andrey Rublev vs Frances Tiafoe
Date: 3 September 2021
Tournament: US Open 2021
Round: Third round (Round of 32)
Venue: New York, United States
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $40,560,000
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel & ESPN/ESPN 2 | UK - Amazon Prime Video | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Andrey Rublev vs Frances Tiafoe preview
Rublev, the World No. 7, had struggled to string together enough wins in the immediate aftermath of the grasscourt season. But he found his rhythm back on the fast hardcourts of Cincinnati, beating compatriot Daniil Medvedev for the first time en route to the final.
Rublev began his US Open campaign on Monday with a straight-sets win over Ivo Karlovic. But he had to dig deep in the second round before beating World No. 75 Pedro Martinez 7-6(2), 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-1.
The two-time US Open quarterfinalist will next take on Tiafoe, who reached the last-16 at Flushing Meadows in 2020.
Tiafoe hasn't been able to make much of an impact on the tour in 2021. Heading into the US Open, the 23-year-old had an underwhelming 22-18 win-loss record for the season. His best performances were a bunch of quarterfinal appearances - at Delray Beach, Queen's and Winston-Salem.
Tiafoe was made to work hard in his US Open opener by American qualifier Christopher Eubanks, and needed four sets to see off the challenge. The World No. 50 gave a much better account of himself in the second round, where he beat the 85th-ranked Guido Pella 6-1, 6-2, 7-5.
Andrey Rublev vs Frances Tiafoe head-to-head
Andrey Rublev and Frances Tiafoe have never squared off on tour before, so their head-to-head currently stands at a 0-0 deadlock.
Andrey Rublev vs Frances Tiafoe prediction
This is a battle between two aggressive baseliners, both of whom are known for their strong forehands. The result will likely boil down to who can keep their unforced errors in check, especially when put under pressure.
Frances Tiafoe is susceptible to leaking errors under pressure, something that has seen him lose several matches from winning positions in the past. But the American does have the speed and athleticism to counter Andrey Rublev's firepower.
The Russian on his part has been solid of late, and he also has more experience of playing at the highest level. He served 18 aces in his last match and crushed 67 winners past Pedro Martinez, while committing 35 unforced errors.
The numbers show how aggressively Rublev has been striking the ball, although the return of serve is an area of concern for him. The fifth seed fluffed three set points against Martinez to concede the second set on Wednesday, and a repeat of that against the big-serving Tiafoe could put him in a spot of bother.
That said, Rublev did make amends immediately against Martinez, committing just seven unforced errors in the last two sets. The Russian's ability to quickly readjust and reset should stand him in good stead even if he briefly falters against Tiafoe.
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Prediction: Andrey Rublev to win in straight sets.