Tsitsipas, Rublev in Monte Carlo final with maiden Masters title at stake

Monaco (AFP) –


Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev will clash in Sunday's Monte Carlo final with both men looking to confirm their top 10 credentials with a maiden Masters crown.

With world number one Novak Djokovic and 11-time champion Rafael Nadal already knocked out and world number two Daniil Medvedev forced to withdraw due to a positive Covid-19 test, it's a final few would have predicted.

Greek fourth seed Tsitsipas defeated Dan Evans, the man who stunned Djokovic in the third round, 6-2, 6-1 in his semi-final on Saturday.

Eighth-seed Rublev of Russia, having shocked Nadal in the quarter-finals, beat unseeded Norwegian Casper Ruud 6-3, 7-5.

Tsitsipas has yet to drop a set in Monte Carlo this week and is through to his third Masters 1000 championship match.

He finished runner-up in Canada in 2018 and Madrid the following year.

"A lot of beautiful things happened in Monaco, for my family and I would really like to carry on this tradition," Tsitsipas said enigmatically, simply specifying that he would say more on Sunday and that these "things" concerned his mother in particular.

The 2020 ATP Finals champion added: "I know I'll have to raise my level of play to the limits.

"It's more about how much I want the victory. It's a question of pure determination, of willingness to surpass myself to get what I want."

The 23-year-old Rublev will now look to record his second straight win over Tsitsipas in Sunday's final.

Rublev beat the 22-year-old Greek en route to the Rotterdam title last month to tie their head-to-head series at 3-3.

On clay, they are 1-1 with Tsitispas winning their most recent clash on the surface in straight sets in the Roland Garros quarter-finals last year.

"Of course, I'm feeling great and happy to play one more final, especially my first ATP Masters final," said Rublev.

"It's going to be tough match. We had already many battles with each other last year. Some of them he won, some of them I won."

However, Tsitsipas will likely be the fresher player on Sunday.

Rublev has spent seven hours and 44 minutes on court in Monte Carlo compared to his opponent's five hours and 13 minutes.

But the Russian believes his bitter experience of losing in the Masters semi-final to eventual champion Hubert Hurkacz earlier this month could work in his favour.

"It's lesson that I learn in Miami, and that's it. That's why I lost, because of my emotions.

"In the end if you want to learn, you will improve this. I hope I want to learn and I want to improve. That's why I'm doing better."

Ruud, 22, knocked out 2019 winner Fabio Fognini to make the last four in Monte Carlo 24 years after his father Christian had reached the quarter-finals.