Andrey Rublev moved into his third Masters final after fighting back from a set down in Monte Carlo to beat American Taylor Fritz 5-7 6-1 6-3 yesterday to set up a showdown with Danish teenager Holger Rune.
Going into the semi-final Fritz had the upper hand with a three-match winning streak against Rublev, but it was the Russian who prevailed in an encounter that was suspended for nearly two hours in the final set due to rain.
Fritz started poorly and was broken in the first service game as the American stared quizzically at the surface he seemed to have mastered when knocking out defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was in the stands to watch the semi-final.
Fritz quickly found himself 2-0 down and even smashed his racquet in frustration, but he turned things around by engaging Rublev in long rallies to set up searing winners to level the set at 3-3 and then again at 5-5 as the pair traded breaks.
Rublev had the opportunity to serve for the set but Fritz converted his fourth consecutive break point to take the opener as his rattled Russian opponent requested a bathroom break before the second set.
But as the sky grew overcast, Rublev was unstoppable in the second set as he fired 11 winners while Fritz lost his range and failed to convert any break points, making 17 unforced errors as the Russian forced the match into a decider.
Fritz had the upper hand in the third, getting the crowd on their feet at one stage after the American won a gruelling point following a 40-shot rally, but Rublev hit straight back to break and level it and then take a 3-2 lead before the rain delay.
It was Rublev who broke in the first game after they returned to hold the advantage while a frustrated Fritz’s unforced error count only rose after the restart.
Although Fritz saved three match points on serve, Rublev served to love in the next game, firing his 27th winner to move into the final.
The second semi-final also had a comeback win when 19-year-old Rune defeated Italian Jannik Sinner 1-6 7-5 7-5 to move into his second Masters final following his incredible run to the title in Paris last November. The match was played in tough conditions with wind and a rain break making things difficult.