June 7, 2023

Andrey Rublev strengthened his Nitto ATP Finals chances on Tuesday when he downed big-serving American John Isner 6-2, 6-3 to reach the third round at the Rolex Paris Masters.

The 25-year-old produced a strong returning performance against Isner, breaking three times and winning 83 per cent (10/12) of points on the American’s second service to advance after 62 minutes. With his 49th victory of the season, Rublev has improved to 1-3 in his ATP Head2Head series against Isner.

“It is a really important win at this moment when I am fighting for Turin,” Rublev said. “I think I was a bit lucky. It was his first tournament since his bad injury. From the baseline I was feeling really confident. As soon as I was returning and the ball was in play, I felt I had an advantage and wasn’t nervous.”

Rublev is currently seventh in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin with 3,530 points. He is in the final qualification spot for the prestigious year-end event, to be held from 13-20 November.

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Rublev’s closest challenger, Taylor Fritz, is in eighth, holding 2,955 points. The American, who defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his opening match, will next play Gilles Simon.

Ninth-placed Hubert Hurkacz can also still qualify. The 25-year-old, who has 2,905 points, moved past Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-6(5), 6-4 to reach the second round in the French capital.

The Pole, who competed in Turin last season, will need a deep run in Paris if he is to qualify. In a dominant display against Mannarino, he fired 20 aces and saved all eight break points he faced to triumph after one hour and 50 minutes. If Hurkacz can defeat either Holger Rune or Stan Wawrinka in the second round, he would face Rublev in the third round in Paris.

Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev have already qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, with two spots left in the final week of the regular season.

ATP WTA LIVE | Follow the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin In Real Time

#NextGenATP Briton Jack Draper will make his debut at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan next week. However, his focus was firmly on his first-round match in Paris on Tuesday when he moved past Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech 6-3, 6-4.

The 20-year-old, who has earned victories against Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime this season, will next play American Frances Tiafoe.

In other action, Draper’s countryman Daniel Evans defeated #NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, while French qualifier Corentin Moutet eliminated Borna Coric 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

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