Rublev Upsets Goffin, Extends Winning Streak
Fast-rising Russian Andrey Rublev rallied from a set and a break down to upset 11th seed David Goffin and reach the fourth round of the Australian Open, his second consecutive appearance in the second week of a major.
Champion in Doha and Adelaide in the first two weeks of the season, Rublev extended his winning streak with a 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-4, 7-6(5) win over the Belgian.
Goffin looked destined for an early afternoon leading 6-2, 3-1, stepping in to take the ball early but also hitting heavy himself when deeper behind the baseline. Surprisingly, the match didn’t turn on Rublev’s ability to hit more winners; he actually hit two fewer (42 to 44).
Perhaps feeling pressure to take the fight to Rublev by being more aggressive from the baseline, Goffin made 27 unforced errors to Rublev's 13 in the final two sets.
Rublev attributed his comeback win to more than just his hot form. “Everything is great with the confidence, but sometimes it's not about confidence. Today I wasn’t serving as well as I did in the second round and it became more about the mental side. How you accept this, how you still be positive instead of being negative. Mental is the main important thing in tennis.
"I was giving him so many free points on his serve in the first two sets. Then I say to myself, 'Okay, if the day is like this, this is what I have today, this is how he is today, looks like he's much better than me today'.
"[I told myself] I can't accept this, don't show emotions, try to keep fighting, try to be positive just to see if in an important moment somehow I will get lucky and have one breakpoint or something like that."
At a career-high No. 16 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, Rublev improved to 11-0 on the season and 15-0 dating back to the first of four match wins in last year’s Davis Cup Finals. Including his home title run in Moscow last October, the 22-year-old has won three of his past five tournaments.
Rublev, who reached the fourth round of the US Open last year and the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows in 2017, next meets 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev, who beat Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-2, 6-4. Zvere has beaten Rublev all three times they've played.