Pole Hubert Hurkacz saves a match point to complete an epic triumph over fifth seed Andrey Rublev, claiming his second Masters 1000 title, the first at the Rolex Shanghai Masters on Sunday.
The final showdown held at the Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena saw 16th seed Hubert Hurkacz stealing an epic duel against World No. 7 Andrey Rublev, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(8) after two hours and nine minutes on Sunday.
After a remarkable clash of titans on Stadium court, Hurkacz commented: “It was such a battle. Especially emotionally. I had a match point, and Andrey hit an amazing serve, then he had a match point, and then I had some match points. It was back and forth and such a tricky match.”
“Andrey was playing some great shots. I was trying to respond. It was one of those matches, and I kept believing. I am super happy with how I managed at the end.”
“It is such a big tournament and so much tradition. It is a huge event, and I am really happy now.”
The Polish player was flawless behind his serve, winning 81 percent of his first-serve points, striking 21 aces, and committing no double faults, which made the difference throughout the intense contest.
The 26-year-old from Wroclaw made a solid start to the match but so did his opponent. Nonetheless, across a dramatic battle, Hurkacz converted his first breakpoint in the sixth game, extending his lead to seal the opener 6-3 with an ace after 31 minutes.
Punishing groundstrokes were fired from both sides of the court, a fierce exchange between two heavy-hitting players.
Rublev, 25, pulled off a comeback to take the second set 6-3 and even the championship match at one set apiece.
Baseline exchanges highlighted the second set, rallies in which the Moscow native got the better of his adversary, such as a brutal 24-shot rally he closed out at the net with a smash.
An encounter marked by small margins kept the spectators on the edge of their seats in the third and final set, in which the 2021 Miami Open winner saved a championship point en route to emerge victorious for the first time at the event, lifting his second Masters 1000 trophy after a memorable performance.
2023 has been a rollercoaster of a season for the player mentored by Craig Boynton, who, after conquering Shanghai, achieved his best result of the year.
Before appearing at the Masters, he had won the title at the Open 13 Marseille, an ATP 250 tournament staged in February.
Early in March, he reached the quarterfinals in Dubai, falling to top seed Novak Djokovic.
Then, he suffered a series of early exits, struggling to find his best tennis.
Toward the second half of the season, the 7-time ATP titlist surged, progressing to the semifinals in Stuttgart and Cincinnati.
Hubi, a former world number nine, is set to improve in the rankings, rising to 11th place on Monday, keeping his chances alive to qualify for the season-ending event, the Nitto ATP Finals.