Rublev lost to a top-four Argentine

Rublev lost to a top-four Argentine

During the match Andrei was swearing, hitting the court with his racket and received a warning from the referee

Andrei Rublev, who had a short break in the season, returned to the competitive court and began playing on the ground in Sweden. His comeback was a mixed bag, first a hard fought game against a player obviously not his level, then a relatively easy win in the next round. And with Sebastian Baez it was even more difficult – the Argentine is now super-motivated after beating Dominic Tim in the quarterfinals.

Rublev’s failure and a warning from the referee

Argentina’s Sebastian Baez is not even a third-ten player, but he’s not that unknown. In the quarterfinals in Sweden, he beat Dominic Thiem, an Austrian who won once at the U.S. Open. Thiem had been out of tournaments for a long time because of left knee problems, then never quite made it back. In Bostad he defeated top-20 ranked player Roberto Bautista Agut twice in a row for the first time since 2021. After that, the Austrian said he was finally back, but soon lost just to Baez in a three-set match.

The Argentine then had to play against Andrei Rublev, who did not play in tournaments for some time as well. The Russian has not yet lost at ATP250 starts this year though, taking two titles in Marseille and Belgrade. Rublev had a hard time in Sweden as he defeated with difficulty Frederico Coria in his first match, then broke much easier against Laszlo Győr. The game, to put it mildly, is ambiguous, it is not clear what to expect. Andrei, although he has never met with Baez, but he should have beaten Sebastian – after all, the player from the top ten outclasses almost everyone else and has more experience. But the Argentine could be inspired by his victory over Tim and take a swing at Rublev.

The Russian won the opening draw and chose to receive first rather than serve. Andrei got the first point – Sebastian made a mistake and missed the length of the court, but then rebounded clearly and took the opening game. Rublev responded with something similar. The problems started later in the fourth game: there were strong gusts of wind that hurt both players. But Andrei seemed to be affected more by this situation. As a result of a number of mistakes of the players the Argentine player was luckier. On the fourth break point he overpowered the Russian and made his first break of the match.

It was a matter of technology before he could win the game. Rublev was already having a break, but then he lost his temper and started to swear (not at his opponent or the referee, but at his own actions). He hit his racket against the court and got a warning from the referee. Emotions led to several more mistakes, and Baez earned a double set-ball. And the game ended with an uncomplicated situation in which the Russian hit to the middle of the net. Rublev had no real success in this set – he served poorly, attacked little and made many mistakes. The wind blew in and the twisting shots of Baez were more than helpful.

The Russian’s unfortunate comeback

The situation did not change in the second set either – Rublev missed on the forehand and then a bad backhand and the Argentine player had a double break point and a break. He could restore balance in the next game, where he fought a little bit, but Russian made a serious error on the left side. Andrei pulled himself together only at the end of the game, when he was losing 4:1 – first he could make one break, where even the cable helped, and then Baes’s shortcuts allowed Rublev to tie the game.

So after a very weak start in the second game Andrey managed to catch on and put up a good fight. Rublev lost one point in the last game due to wind (both players had equal situation but the Argentine was able to adjust somehow). On match point the Russian tried to run at random and see what his opponent would hit, but couldn’t. Baez is clearly more motivated and has already beaten several top players (both former and current), but the Russian can’t find his game. Maybe if he played a different format (if he had to win three sets to win) Rublev would be able to find his serve and improve his serve game, since he played a better second set. But no.

Sebastian Baez will now play in the final against his compatriot Francisco Serundolo. And the Russian begins preparations for the pentathlon in Hamburg, which starts on Monday.