Rublev rocked at Kremlin Cup by Mannarino defeat
The world No 6 crashed out of his home tournament at the hands of the Frenchman
The two had met in the same tournament two years ago – but that was in the final, and Rublev triumphed in straight sets, 6-4, 6-0.
This time, though, the Frenchman came back from a set down – and even managed to win despite wasting two set point opportunities on his racquet in the second set.
At 6-5, the Russian had a match point on the Frenchman’s serve, but he lost it thanks to a backhand that went into the net. The set went to a tiebreak and Mannarino came out on top. Rublev, who showed signs of frustration, dropped down in intensity in the deciding set and failed to trouble the 51st-ranked player in the world on his serve. Mannarino converted the only break point of the set to break away from his opponent and earn his second win over a top-10 player in six attempts this season, following a defeat of Dominic Thiem on Mallorca grass in June.
He is now through to the quarter-finals in Moscow where he will meet a player much lower in the ATP rankings, Ricardas Berankis (107th in the world), whom he has beaten four times in five meetings. Berankis, a lucky loser in the draw this week, defeated Federico Coria in the second round 6-2, 6-1.
Mannarino was coming off back-to-back first round losses in Sofia and Indian Wells, but this week the world No 51 has clearly found his feet following a first-round battle against Roman Safiullin (1-6, 7-6, 6-4), the Frenchman once again put his heart into his work to resist the blows of Rublev.
Second seed Aslan Karatsev had a straightforward day on court, beating Egor Gerasimov 6-4, 6-3 while fourth seed Filip Krajinovic had lost earlier in the day to Spain’s Pedro Martinez, 6-3, 6-4.
Frenchman Gilles Simon had a better day, with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Mackenzie McDonald.