World No. 7 Andrey Rublev eases through Frenchman Ugo Humbert in straight sets to reach the semifinals at the Rolex Shanghai Masters, setting a meeting with 18th seed Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the final.
Fifth seed Andrey Rublev outlasted in-form Ugo Humbert with a 6-2, 6-3 victory after one hour and 31 minutes to progress into his sixth semifinal at the Masters 1000 level, aiming to lift a third trophy this season.
Last week, the players faced one another in Beijing, where Humbert found a way to get the better of the World No. 7, who lost the second-round match in three sets.
“[In] the match in Beijing, both of us played great tennis, and I had chances. I was serving for the match. He was playing really well, and I tried to analyze what I did wrong that match,” Rublev outlined after avenging his defeat.
Adding: “I tried not to make the same mistakes today; I did really well. I am happy to win in straight sets. I played a great match. I am happy to win today.”
The 25-year-old from Moscow came out solid, firing his trademark groundstrokes and pushing his opponent against the wall.
En route to take a hard-fought first set, he produced a double break, capitalizing his chances to close out 6-2.
Rublev, who captured his maiden Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo last April, exchanged breaks of serve with the 32nd seed halfway into the second set but recovered quickly, breaking twice to fend off his adversary’s comeback efforts, notching the set 6-3 and the match.
On Friday, the 14-time ATP titlist, yet to lose a set in Shanghai, secured his spot in the last four, setting a box office matchup against World No. 19 and good friend Grigor Dimitrov.
The 32-year-old continues his impressive, consistent run throughout the Asian swing, achieving the semifinals for the first time at the event, his fifth of this season and the ninth of his career at the Masters 1000 level.
The 18th seed overcame Chile’s Nicolas Jarry 7-6(2), 6-4 after one hour and 39 minutes on Stadium court earlier on Friday.
Dimitrov stayed perfect across the encounter against a player who has also found his best tennis this year, adding 36 tour-level victories and two titles, Santiago and Geneva, to his name.
The experienced Bulgarian player, a former world number three, dropped only four points behind his serve, committing just three unforced errors, while facing no breakpoints through their clash.
Moreover, his exceptional athleticism allowed him to master his court coverage, neutralizing Jarry’s big serve to deliver a top-class tennis performance.
In his on-court interview, he asserted: “There were many components going the right way today. For me, he is one of the best servers right now.
“I’ve played him a couple of times, and I feel like every time, it gets tougher and tougher to return against him.”
Further addressing his performance, he said: “In the most important moments, I was able to be just solid, nothing else. I don’t think I did anything crazy in those moments; I just kept believing in my game and going after my shots.”
“You don’t get many opportunities against him, especially in the beginning; it’s very difficult because he doesn’t give you any rhythm… I was trying to apply pressure, hoping he might make a few mistakes, and he did.”
On his way to the semifinals, Dimitrov shocked top seed Carlos Alcaraz in the fourth round, earning his fourth win over a Top 2 player.
Rublev and Dimitrov are tied 3-3 in their series; their most recent contest dates from 2022 in Vienna, a match the latter won in straight sets.