Championship Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open
Andrey Rublev captures the Doha Title
Two years ago, 20-year-old Andrey Rublev made his Qatar ExxonMobil Open debut as the World #39. Fueled by his run to the championship match of the ATP Next Gen Finals just 2-months earlier, Andrey won four in-a-row – including a deciding-set tiebreak victory in the Semifinals. After a nervy loss to Monfils in only his second career ATP Tour Final, Rublev was determined to get another shot at Doha’s Falcon.
Thanks to the new ATP Cup, this year Rublev came-in as a top-seed. With a 1st-Round Bye, he didn’t play his first match until Wednesday – a commanding victory over Mikhail Kukushkin.
On Quarterfinal Thursday, rain delivered a wrinkle. He and Pierre-Hugues Herbert were moved to Court-1, but they could only complete two holds before the skies opened again. With play cancelled for the day – in order to reach the championship match, Andrey would have to win both his Quarterfinal and Semifinal on the same day.
Mission accomplished — behind a pair of straight-sets wins over Herbert and Kecmanovic.
The Championship Match
Like Monfils did to Rublev 2-years prior – Andrey dominated his Next Gen opponent in Final.
In set-1, Corentin Moutet simply couldn’t maestro the creative off-speed tactics he’d used to get through Raonic, then Verdasco and Wawrinka on the same day. He’d played six consecutive matches to get to this point, and the magic was gone.
As often happens with a title on the line, Rublev clammed-up late in the second. Serving to go up 5-2, Rublev started to miss, and Moutet got back on serve. In the tiebreak, Andrey won the first four points, then traded mini-breaks the rest of the way to earn the title.
Rublev’s 3rd Title and 5th Final
Two years ago, 20-year-old Andrey Rublev stood on Doha’s trophy ceremony stage completely unimpressed with himself. It was his second Final.
This year, he lifted Doha’s Falcon and captured his 3rd ATP Tour title in his 5th career Final. In two years, he’s come a long way, blazing a trail of victories that include a win over Roger Federer last Summer in Cincinnati.
Meanwhile Corentin Moutet leaves Doha feeling the way Andrey felt in 2018. But the young Frenchman needs to take stock of all he accomplished this week. As a qualifier, he started the New Year with six wins, reaching both his first Tour-level Semifinal and Final.
And he did it with unexpected victories over names like Sandgren, Roanic, Verdasco and Wawrinka. Not to mention, he took out Verdasco and 3-time Major Champion Wawrinka in deciding sets – ON THE SAME DAY.
2020’s rain was a major buzzkill. That said, Thursday’s washout created one of the most memorable conclusions in Qatar ExxonMobil Open history.
Congrats to Rublev. Allez Moutet.
 Andrey Rublev -23- (RUS) | Championship Announcer Introduction
In 2018, as a 20-year-old ranked outside the top-35, he reached the championship match in his Qatar ExxonMobil Open debut. Two years later, he now owns 2 ATP Tour Singles titles, is a 5-time Finalist – and Roger Federer has named him “The One to Watch” in 2020. In fact, last Summer he defeated Federer in Cincinnati, reached his first Masters-1000 Quarterfinal, and went on to capture the title in Moscow – climbing to a career-high ranking of World #22. After a career-best year, he spent the off-season counting the days ’til Doha – and has delivered three commanding straight-sets victories to give himself another shot at the famous Doha falcon. From Russia, he is 2-time Qatar ExxonMobil Open Finalist Andrey Rublev.
▲ FF — def [Q] Corentin Moutet -81- (FRA) | Score: 62 76(3)
▲ SF — def Miomir Kecmanovic -62- (SRB) | Score: 63 61 | RECAP
▲ QF — def Pierre-Hugues Herbert -65- (FRA) | Score: 64 63 | RECAP
▲ R2 — def Mikhail Kukushkin -66- (KAZ) | Score: 64 62 | RECAP
▲ R1 — BYE
Announcer Corner | Andrey Rublev
Injured for 2-months of the clay season last year, Andrey Rublev returned like a player possessed. He earned 4 of his 5 top-10 victories during the second half of the 2019 season, including victories over Dominic Thiem in Hamburg, Roger Federer in Cincinnati, Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open, and Roberto Bautista Agut in Davis Cup. Rublev started 2019 as the World #68, dropped outside the top-100 in February – but recovered to end the season as the World #23. Impressive comeback, indeed.
[Q] Corentin Moutet -81- (FRA) | Championship Announcer Introduction
A 20-year-old Qualifier ranked outside the top-80 – He has won 6 consecutive matches to start the New Year – and tonight, is competing in his first ATP Tour Final. Tremendously creative on court, with relentless endurance – yesterday he defeated both Fernando Verdasco and 3-time Grand Slam Champion Stan Wawrinka…on the same day. In the Round of 16, he eliminated former World #3 Milos Raonic in 2 tiebreak sets. His break-through culminates tonight, right here on center court in Doha. Through to the championship match in his Qatar ExxonMobil Open debut – From France, this is Corentin Moutet.
▼ FF — loss  Andrey Rublev -23- (RUS) | Score: 26 67(3)
▲ SF — def  Stan Wawrinka -15- (SUI) | Score: 36 75 63 | RECAP
▲ QF — def Fernando Verdasco -49- (ESP) | Score: 64 46 64 | RECAP
▲ R2 — def  Milos Raonic -32- (CAN) | Score: 76(3) 76(4) | RECAP
▲ R1 — def Tennys Sandgren -68- (USA) | Score: 76(3) 64 | RECAP
▲ QR2 — def Alexei Popyrin -97- (AUS) | Score: 62 64 | RECAP
▲ QR1 — def Andrej Martin -107- (SVK) | Score: 64 64 | RECAP
Announcer Corner | Corentin Moutet
Like most French talents, Corentin Moutet is a solid clay courter. Last May, he cracked the ATP’s top-100 for the first time after a tremendous 3-weeks. At Roland Garros, he reached the 3rd-Round of a Grand Slam for the first time, upsetting Guido Pella in the 2nd-Round. After losing a tough 5-setter to Juan Ignacio Londero, he hopped a train back to Lyon where he won his 4th ATP Challenger title.
At Wimbledon, he won his first three Grand Slam Qualifying matches, then took-out Grigor Dimitrov on Day-1. It was mojo-boosting victory. Down 2-sets to love, Moutet won the third in a tiebreak, allowing Grigor only four games the rest of the way. Though he fell to Felix Auger-Aliassime in Round-2 – by the end of the fortnight, the Frenchman climbed to a career-high ranking of World #80.
A gifted piano player, keep an eye on the maestro in 2020.