STARNBERG/VIENNA, November 1, 2020
Andrey Rublev has qualified for the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals for the first time after he captured an ATP Tour-best fifth title in 2020 on Sunday at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. The No. 5 seed of the ATP 500 event in Austria defeated Lorenzo Sonego of Italy 6-4, 6-4 in the singles final.
Rublev won 87 per cent of his first-service points and broke his opponent’s serve two times to secure victory in one hour and 18 minutes.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 1, 2020
“This tournament is really special for me because my grandma was also Austrian, so I have Austrian blood,” Rublev said during the trophy ceremony. “It’s a really special title for me.”
The 23-year-old Russian, who is the seventh singles player to secure his spot in London, will join Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, compatriot Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev at the season finale, to be held at The O2 behind closed doors from 15-22 November.
“I’m happy. I’m happy that I won the title here. I’m happy that I will compete in London for the first time. I’m really looking forward [to it],” Rublev said. “There are still so many things I need to improve and it’s going to be a good challenge for me to see what exactly I need to improve to be at that level, to be able to compete against the top eight players.”
Rublev is the fifth Russian singles player to qualify in the 50-year history of the Nitto ATP Finals, following in the footsteps of 1997 runner-up Yevgeny Kafelnikov (1995-2001), Marat Safin (2000, ’02, ’04), 2009 champion Nikolay Davydenko (2005-09) and Medvedev (2019-20). This year marks the first time since 2000 (Safin and Kafelnikov) that Russia has two singles qualifiers at the season finale.
The World No. 8 has enjoyed a career-best season in 2020, lifting an ATP Tour-best five trophies. Rublev started the year by becoming the first man since Dominik Hrbaty in 2004 to win two trophies in the first two weeks of the season, lifting silverware at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha (d. Moutet) and the Adelaide International (d. Harris) in January. Rublev has also won three ATP 500 titles at the Hamburg European Open (d. Tsitsipas) in September, the St. Petersburg Open (d. Coric) last month, and in Vienna (d. Sonego). In Grand Slam play, he rallied from 0-2 sets down for the first time in his career to defeat Sam Querrey en route to the Roland Garros quarterfinals (l. to Tsitsipas) and reached the last eight at the US Open for a second time (l. to Medvedev).
Having started a reduced 2020, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, at No. 23 in the ATP Rankings, Rublev broke into the Top 10 for the first time on 12 October. He attained a career-high of World No. 8 on 19 October and currently has a 39-7 match record.