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Rublev books Hurkacz final clash

Russia's Andrey Rublev reacts after a point against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov during their men’s semi-final singles match at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament on October 14, 2023. (Photo by WANG Zhao / AFP)

SHANGHAI, China (AFP) — Feisty Andrey Rublev said he is trying to curb his “ugly” behavior after beating Grigor Dimitrov at the Shanghai Masters on Saturday to set up a final with big-serving Hubert Hurkacz.

Russia’s Rublev defeated Dimitrov 7-6 (9/7), 6-3 in their semi-final and is yet to drop a set in Shanghai as he closes on his second Masters 1000 crown of the year.

In the first semi-final, the 16th-seeded Hurkacz from Poland blasted his way past Sebastian Korda of the United States 6-3, 6-4.

Rublev, the highest-ranked player left in the tournament at seven in the world, cut an angry figure at times and was  especially irked by what appeared to be a drone overhead early on.

He also repeatedly whacked the net at one point and said afterwards of his outbursts: “It is not helping me at all and it looks really ugly.”

“Some matches, like today, you feel more stressed and more pressure because it’s a semi-final and you want to win, so it’s tough to control.”

The 25-year-old composed himself to get out of a hole at 0-40 in the first set to eventually hold serve for 3-3 in a game lasting 10 minutes.

Rublev then pounced at the first glimpse of an opportunity to break Bulgaria’s Dimitrov for 6-5, only to be broken back immediately by the 18th seed as he served for the set.


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