Roger Federer (SUI) vs.  Andrey Rublev (RUS)
It was a Next Gen contender against a well-established top ranked player. In a first meeting that many expected the top ranked player to dominate; yet, Rublev has always been a streaky opponent and when he is hot, he can mix it up with the best of them.
A Nervy Start For Federer
Back injury has been the reason why this young Russian fell off the radar after getting to a career high of thirty-one early in 2018. He got off to a red-hot start against the seven-time Western & Southern champion, breaking Federer in his first service game. Federer did not panic as expected and Rublev wobbled enough to give the break right back to the Swiss. But Federer was not as confident as we would have expected, his serve was not working, and the Russian took the opportunity to break the Swiss in his second service game to regain the lead.
Would Federer Fight Back?
Both players settled into the match by the sixth game. The number three ranked player in the world needed to show why he was ranked number one for such a long time, but he could not rattle the young Russian a second time in the set. Despite periodic splashes of brilliance from the Swiss star, it was not enough to derail the momentum of Rublev, who seemed to have better control of his emotions today, which allowed him to play with controlled aggression and precision.
Would Nerves Plague The Russian?
Everyone was watching and wondering when would Federer turn the match around. However, Rublev impressed with his focus and the consistency in the quality of tennis he produced against his opponent. He got better as the match progressed, perhaps surprising Federer, and protected his serve better than the Swiss. One break was all the Russian needed to secure the second set and the match. The 6-3, 6-4 victory gave the young Russian his best career victory to date.
SOURCE OF IMAGES: Zimbio.com (main image-Getty Images Europe: Andrey Rublev)