Seventh seeded Grigor Dimitrov is out of the 2017 US Open, as 19 year old Russian upstart Andrey Rublev produced a barrage of serves, forehands, backhands, forehands, and more forehands to oust the Bulgarian 7-5, 7-6(3), 6-3 in the second round. Relive the match here with our live coverage.
After winning Cincinnati, Dimitrov was looking to make a deep run in New York, but Rublev had other plans. Initially, Dimitrov looked to be sailing smoothly, as he jumped out to an early break and served for the first set at 5-3. However, Rublev valiantly fought back., and a barrage of forehands culminated in a scorcher down the line with Dimitrov serving at 5-6 to seal the first set for the Russian.
The same pattern repeated itself in the second. Dimitrov jumped out to an early break and led 4-2, but once again Rublev fought back. Rublev’s serve was the story of this set, as he served at 81%. His forehand however was the true difference maker. Dimitrov made several great gets and made Rublev play several extra balls, but the youngster was up to the task almost every time and hit a series of sparkling forehand winners. The set headed to a tiebreak, and Dimitrov’s defense began to crumble against the Russian’s furious onslaught. The seventh seed was overwhelmed by Rublev’s sheer weight of shot, and to make matters worse he mixed in a few loose errors as well. The result was Rublev easily winning the second set tiebreak 7-3, finishing with a flourishing forehand winner just as he did in the first set.
This trend continued in the third. Dimitrov’s defense began to wilt in the New York heat. Rublev’s forehand is just an awe-inspiring shot, hit with a straight arm and loaded with spin, depth, and pace. In the third set, Rublev kept upping the ante off that wing and forced Dimitrov further and further behind the baseline. Rublev secured the break at 2-1, and while Dimitrov provided some resistance at 3-1, Rublev’s serve saw him through to give him a 4-1 lead. Rublev immediately generated two more break points, but Dimitrov valiantly fought them off to keep himself alive. However, Rublev was unfazed and kept raining down serves and forehands to hold for 5-2. Dimitrov went through the motions and held to 30, and finally the moment of truth had arrived for the young Russian as he stepped to the line to serve the match out. Dimitrov had a look at 15-30, but some smart net play got Rublev to 30 all. A big serve got Rublev to match point and a thundering crosscourt forehand on the run sealed the deal. Did you expect anything else from a player whose forehand looks like it could be one of the premier shots in the game? What a performance from this rising star.
All in all, Rublev served at 61% with 7 aces, 3 doubles, and 36 winners to 36 errors. It was more than just a serve/forehand festival though as Rublev played some great defense at times and even finished 13/17 at the net. He has the makings of a complete game behind that nuclear forehand, which produced 17 winners for him today. For Dimitrov, he wasn’t terrible off the ground, finishing with 35 winners to 39 errors; however, his serve really let him down as he served at just 59% with a whopping 10 double faults.
It was a stunning win for the Russian who showed his true arsenal of weapons, particularly that devastating forehand. When he’s landing as many serves and forehands as he did today, he’s a handful for just about anyone because it’s not like he has a weak backhand that you can pinpoint. Furthermore, he also moves well for a player this young and can finish points at net as well. All in all, he moves on to his first career major third round, where Damir Dzumhur awaits. Gael Monfils or David Goffin looms in the fourth round, and if Rublev can keep the dream alive for that long, Rafael Nadal awaits in the quarter finals. This US Open has certainly produced no shortage of drama as young players are finally coming into their own, headlined by Rublev and Denis Shapovalov. Stay tuned to tennis-pulse for complete coverage as we get into the business end of the year’s final grand slam.