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Madrid Open: Rublev Claims Title Over Auger-Aliassime

Madrid, Spain. 5th May, 2024. Andrey Rublev (RUS) Credit: Mutsu Kawamori/AFLO/Alamy

Andrey Rublev overcame a slow start to beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 4-6 7-5 7-5 for his first Madrid Open title on Sunday. 

The Russian world number eight came into the match with a reported fever and looked out of sorts early but was able to battle back and to win his second Masters 1,000 tournament. 

Canadian Auger-Aliassime couldn’t quite close his first Masters title, despite having a significant advantage midway through that match. He was broken late in both the second and third sets, losing each 7-5. 

The 26-year old Rublev, came into the tournament in poor form having lost his last four matches but seemed to catch momentum towards the end of the tournament. He had a tough matchup in the quarter-finals against Carlos Alcaraz Garfia which he claimed in three sets. He then went on to meet American Taylor Fritz who he made quick work of with a straight sets victory, 6-3, 6-2.

Auger-Aliassime had a much easier road to the finals with three of his five opponents in Madrid giving him walkovers. This included the top seed, Jannik Sinner, who pulled out with an injury before their quarter-final matchup. His semi-final opponent Jiri Lehecka also pulled out early in their match due to an injury.

Match Summary

Rublev had the worst possible start when he was broken to love in the first game of the match via a couple of careless double faults. Before the Russian knew it he found himself down 4-1 down as Auger-Aliassime took control of the first set. The set ended 6-4 in favor of the Canadian with Rublev looking tired, which could have had to do with his illness.

Rublev fought back though in the second set, finding his range with his first serve and keeping Auger-Aliassime honest on the baseline. He clinched the set with a late and decisive breakpoint at 6-5 which forced a decider.

The final set went almost the same as the second, with the two keeping on serve until Rublev once again was able to break at 6-5. Auger-Aliassime gave up two double faults in the final game to hand Rublev the victory in what turned out to be an anti-climactic end to the final.

Swaitek Wins Thriller Against Sabalenka 

World No. 1, Iga Swiatek, was able to save three championship points to beat Aryna Sabalenka 7-5 4-6 7-6 (9-7) and take home her first Madrid Open title.

The 22-year old was down a break early in the third set but fought back to avenge her defeat to Sabalenka in last year’s final. Swaitek needed to dig deep and save two match points in the 13th game and then another in the tie-breaker, in what was one of the more thrilling matches this year.

It was the first time the two top ranked players in the world met this season and made for three hours of terrific shot-making and relentless defense. Sabalenak had previously won the Madrid Open two times and was looking for her third title in 4 years.

The first set was even until Swaitek earned two break-point opportunities with the score at 3-3. Even though Sabalenka saved both, Swaitek eventually seized the initiative to go 6-5 and serve out the first set.

Sabalenka hit back in the second set, breaking Swaitek late to even out the match at a set apiece. It set up an intriguing final set with both players looking evenly matched over the first two.

Sabalenka seized the early initiative in the decider with a break which put her 3-1 up. Swaitek had to push herself hard, to save multiple championship points and push the match to a tiebreaker. Even in the tiebreaker, Sabalenka had the momentum to start but just couldn’t finish off her opponent. She finally fell 9-7 to Swiatek in the tie-braeker in a marathon match.

If the Madrid Open is anything to go off of, these two are likely to put up some more great matches this year when they meet deep in tournaments.