Announcer Andy Taylor | Voice of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open | Photo: Paul Zimmer
Andrey Rublev -68- (RUS) def Andreas Seppi -37- (ITA)
2018 Finalist Andrey Rublev has had a fortunate start to the season. After missing 3-months last year with a back injury, he needs time and main-draw wins to re-boost his ranking. After sliding outside the top-60, it appeared the returning Finalist would have to Qualify in Doha. But, late last week, he picked up an automatic bid onto the main-stage after Mikhail Kukushkin -53- (KAZ) withdrew from the tournament.
Tonight, he faced 34-year-old Italian veteran Andreas Seppi for the first time. Seppi broke late in the first, earning a chance to serve for the set. But instead, Rublev broke right back and won eight consecutive games, allowing Seppi only a single hold the rest of the way.
Up next for Rublev: Nikoloz Basilashvili -21- (GEO).
Round-1 Biography | Andrey Rublev -68- (RUS)
Last year, at just 20-years-old, this ATP Next Gen Star reached his second career Final right here in Doha, defeating Fernando Verdasco, Borna Coric and Guido Pella en-route to the championship match. A month later, he climbed to a career-high ranking of World #31, then teamed with comrade Karen Khachanov to reach his first Masters Doubles Final in Miami. Injured during the clay swing, he missed 3-months of the season, but battled back on the hard-courts, reaching the Semifinals in Washington DC, and at the year-end Next Gen ATP Finals. At the 2017 US Open – at just 19-years-old – he scored the biggest win of his career, defeating World #9 Grigor Dimitrov en-route to his first career Grand Slam Quarterfinal. Competing in just his second Qatar ExxonMobil Open, from Russia – please welcome returning Finalist, Andrey Rublev.
Round-1 Biography | Andreas Seppi -37- (ITA)
A Semifinalist here in Doha in 2015, this 34-year-old owns 3 ATP Singles titles, is an 8-time Finalist on Tour, and has been ranked as high as #18 in the World. Last year, as a lucky loser in Rotterdam, he earned his 9th career top-10 victory, defeating World #4 Alexander Zverev en-route to the Semifinals. On that same court, 10-years-prior, he upset World #2 Rafael Nadal; and in 2015, defeated Roger Federer in the 3rd-Round of the Australian Open. He’s a Davis Cup Semifinalist, reached the Doubles Quarters of the Olympic Games in Rio, and has appeared in 54 consecutive Majors – reaching the Final-16 6-times. A Doubles Finalist here in Doha 8-years-ago, he is competing in his 10th Qatar ExxonMobil Open. From Italy, please welcome Andreas Seppi.