Andrey Rublev caused what could arguably be the biggest upset in the men’s tournament so far as he ousted seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov in the second round of the US Open, triumphing against the Bulgarian in three sets having recovered from huge deficits in the first two sets. This is Rublev’s first appearance in the third round of a Grand Slam, and he stands a good chance of reaching the second week as a 19-year-old as he will face Damir Dzumhur in the next round for a place in the fourth round.
Rublev comes from 2-5 down and clinches five straight games to take the first set
Dimitrov came into the match firing on all cylinders as he easily held his serve to love in the opening game, firing some big forehand winners in the process. Rublev followed suit but his service game was much more complicated as he got onto the scoreboard after the Bulgarian managed to get to deuce twice in the game. Winning the first eight of nine points on his serve, Dimitrov looked on fire and looked on course for a routine victory. It was the higher-ranked player who made the first breakthrough in the match as Rublev started to commit a couple of unforced errors, gifting the first break of serve to Dimitrov.
The world number nine then easily consolidated the break for a huge 4-1 lead, edging closer to securing the first set. Having lost just two points on serve until that point, Dimitrov soon found himself just one game away from winning the first set at 5-2 up. Unexpectedly, the Bulgarian played his first loose game of the match at the most crucial moments as Rublev relied on four unforced errors from Dimitrov to break straight back and all of a sudden level the match.
Dimitrov started to lose his focus as he was broken for the second consecutive time, this time throwing in a double fault on break point, causing him to trail on the scoreboard for the first time in the match. Serving for the set, the Russian youngster overcame his nerves and eventually clinched his fifth consecutive game to clinch the first set 7-5 after 52 minutes of play.
Rublev mounts another huge comeback, seals the set in a tiebreak
Dimitrov finally stopped the rot as he had a confidence-boosting start to the second set, comfortably holding his serve to love in the opening game. Just like in the first set, the Bulgarian made the first breakthrough in the fourth game after he prevailed in a tight return game to take the lead. Easily consolidating the break to 15, Dimitrov looked on course to level the match at one-set-all. However, there was more to the plot as Rublev came from 1-4 down to return level at 4-4 within the blink of an eye, saving a couple of break points in the eighth game.
The set was eventually brought into a tiebreak with both players being very solid in their service games, with the scores looking tight initially. However, from 1-1, it was only one-way traffic as unforced errors by the Cincinnati champion gave Rublev a 5-1 lead out of nowhere. Not succumbing to the pressure, Rublev was able to close out the second set with a huge forehand winner and take a two-set lead.
Rublev completes the huge upset
The third set started with three consecutive service holds before Dimitrov’s struggles continued to plague him. His lack of first serves and consistent forehands proved to be costly as Rublev played some of his best tennis on his own part, making the first breakthrough to lead by two sets and a break.
Rublev had the golden opportunity to extend his lead but Dimitrov saved a break point to lessen the deficit and keep himself in the match. Nonetheless, the Bulgarian was still unable to find a breakthrough on the return as Rublev defied the odds and successfully served out the huge upset after two hours and 26 minutes of play.