US Open R1 - Tsitsipas versus Rublev
As of now - the second day of the US Open - the young talented Stéfanos Tsitsipàs will be facing a tough young player, the Russian Andrey Rublev - who recently made a lot of noise with a streak of impressive victories over some heavy hitters of the Tour (including Basilashvili, Wawrinka and… oh, right, Federer).
While sharing a similar profile, they are not currently riding the same wave, and this is why today’s match is going to be so interesting!
Both rising stars of the Next Gen ATP Finals, Rublev was the runner-up of the 2017 edition while Tsitsipas won the title at the 2018 Next Gen Finals. Rublev has been wandering inside the top 100 since the spring of 2017 while Tsitsipas has always been rising (check out the graph below).
After an amazing 2018 season with an impressive number of wins, the beginning of this year has been mostly disappointing for the Greek. The five-set loss against Wawrinka at the quarter-final of the French major is what I see as the beginning of Tsitsipas most recent downfall (this article shows how damaging this match was).
Since then, Stefanos has been collecting defeats, despite an interesting run at the Citi Open in Washington DC. In terms of statistics, one can spot a notable increase in the rate of double faults and also a lack of success when dealing with the opponent’s first serves.
On the other hand, Andrey Rublev performed ouststandingly at the Cincinnati Open, and the handful of victories he cashed in recently are a definite source of high confidence. His return game has improved greatly and he has the psychological upper hand at the first round in Flushing Meadows.
This should be a very interesting, emotionally loaded match between two players who played each other twice in the past three years, each time resulting in a tight score.
Rublev shall fight but Rublev shall win.