“Rublo” Rublev advances to first UTS final, clean sweeping “The Rebel” Paire in Frankfurt

Andrey Rublev has made his first UTS final, dispatching a spirited Benoit Paire in three quarters at UTS Frankfurt on Sunday

Andrey Rublev UTS Frankfurt Final

Andrey “Rublo” Rublev has continued his brilliant UTS debut, powering past Benoit “The Rebel” Paire in straight quarters to book a spot in the UTS Frankfurt final this afternoon against Grigor “G-Unit” Dimitrov.

The Russian came out firing, winning the first quarter 21-8, before The Rebel found his range and made the remaining quarters more competitive, going down 14-13 and 17-13 to see his time at UTS Frankfurt come to an end.

With crowd-favourite Paire describing playing against the World No 6 as a match up between a professional and an amateur, it was a case of the Frenchman getting oh-so-close, yet falling short on crucial points in this UTS Frankfurt Final Four clash.

The Rebel loses opening quarter for first time at UTS Frankfurt

This match began in an unfamiliar manner—with The Rebel starting slowly.

Across his three matches at UTS Frankfurt so far, Paire has made a reputation for starting fast (and then at times, failing to close out matches). Today was different, with Rublev clearly looking like he was in a different gear to The Rebel, and grabbing the early ascendancy as a result.

Quickly, the quarter was at 10-5, with the highlight of the opening exchanges a brilliant Rublo passing shot around the post, collecting a Paire dropshot from his toes.

In a stat that would define the match, The Rebel made only 77 percent of his serves in the first quarter, while Rublev landed 100 percent. Never was this more crucial than on the Frenchman’s card, where he went for a big serve and missed—not the last time we’d see Paire’s card play out in such a manner.

An optimistic Rublev shared after the first quarter, “In 24 minutes maybe I go to the locker room and I lose.”

Rublev keeps foot to the floor, Paire fluffs big points

That was not to be the case, with the world No 6 continuing to assert his dominance across the next two quarters, albeit with tighter score lines.

Early in the second quarter, The Rebel upped the ante and threw everything he had at Rublo. On just the second point, an epic rally unfolded which saw the Frenchman running side-to-side retrieving Rublev’s shots, including crushing an over-the-shoulder smash after chasing down a lob. The exchange ended with Paire on his back on the baseline, and Rublev winning the point—a foreshadowing of the coming quarter of an hour’s play.

Surprisingly, Paire worked his way back into the second quarter after being down 0-3 early, and found himself with a quarter point at 13-12 once time was up. Naturally, the 34-year-old went big on his serve, missed, and lost the subsequent point to go down 2-0 quarters.

“He was running like Gael, now I think he needs to go to the hospital,” remarked Rublev between quarters, before mentioning that he’d buy Paire a beer on the way to the hospital after the match.

“Who is this guy Rublo? How is it possible to hit the ball this hard?” retorted Paire, who had already helped himself to a drink mid-way through the quarter, courtesy of a generous courtside fan.

Rublo books spot in UTS Frankfurt final

Despite the theatrics of this match—which saw The Rebel throw his racquet over the net, stomp on his racquet, and wind up on his back multiple times in the third quarter—it was clear that Andrey Rublev had warmed up to the UTS format.

The Russian navigated another tight quarter, winning the third 17-13 to book his spot in the UTS Frankfurt final against Grigor “G-Unit” Dimitrov later this afternoon. As Paire had highlighted, Rublo’s ability to hit the ball hard put him a level above today, with the world No 6 no longer distracted by the different atmosphere in Germany.

“I am happy to be in a final and that’s it. Time is always stressing me. The first match was a bit noisy because it was something new,” said Rublev after his win.

“Every match I am playing better and better, happy to be in the final.”

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