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Rublev outlasts Rune in 'rollercoaster' match to reach quarters at 2023 Australian Open

The Russian tennis star is now set to face Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals

MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. Russian tennis star Andrey Rublev advanced on Monday to the quarterfinals round of the 2023 Australian Open Championship after beating Holger Rune of Denmark and is set to face Novak Djokovic in the next round.

Playing at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne earlier in the day, 5th-seed Rublev defeated 9th-seed Rune in five sets: 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (11-9) in the 4th Round match which lasted 3 hours and 37 minutes.

Speaking after the win over Rune, Rublev said "A rollercoaster is more easier."

"I was 5-2 down in the fifth set, 6-5 down two match points, then 5-0 7-2 down in the super tie-break. In my life I've never been able to win matches like this," the official website of the 2023 Australian Open quoted Rublev as saying.

"Especially to do it in a very special tournament like the Australian Open, to be in the quarterfinals is something I will remember for sure all my life. I have no words, I'm shaking!"

"Of course, nobody wants to face Novak [Djokovic]. I'm just so happy to win this match. I'll enjoy this evening and we'll see what happens next," he added.

The Russian is playing at the Grand Slam tournament in Melbourne under a neutral status and is now set to face Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Australian Open, who on Monday breezed past 22nd-seeded Alex de Minaur of Australia in straight sets: 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 in 2 hours and six minutes.

Djokovic was complacent speaking about his easy win over Australia’s Alex de Minaur on his home turf: "I didn't feel anything today. Today was great. I keep on going. Obviously, I don't want to celebrate too early. I'm still in the tournament."

"I was feeling very good in the first match. Second match not so great, so I know that things can change really quickly. I don't take anything for granted," Serbia’s legendary tennis player continued commenting on his win over the Australian opponent. "I'm really pleased with the way I played, moved, the way I hit the ball. Let's keep it going."

Djokovic, 35, boasts 92 wins on the ATP circuit and he is currently the world’s No. 5 ranked player. The Serbian is the winner of 21 Grand Slam titles (nine Australian Opens, seven Wimbledons, three US Opens and two French Opens).

Rublev, 25, is currently ranked 6th in the ATP (the Association of Tennis Professionals) Ranking List and he is the winner of 12 ATP tournaments. He has also appeared in numerous Grand Slam tournaments, never going further than the quarterfinals. While playing for the Russian national team, he took home the gold at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo in mixed doubles (with teammate Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova) and also won the 2021 Davis Cup.

The 2022 Australian Open tournament is played on hard courts at Melbourne Park between January 16 and 29 and it has $53.4 million in prize money up for grabs. The opening tournament of the annual Grand Slam series in Australia marks its 111th edition this year. Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Australia’s Ashleigh Barty are the reigning Australian Open champions in men’s and women’s singles respectively.

The Russian men's singles champions at the Australian Open tournaments were Yevgeny Kafelnikov (1999) and Marat Safin (2005). Russia’s Daniil Medvedev reached the final of the tournament in Melbourne last year, but eventually lost to Rafael Nadal of Spain.

Russian players’ neutral status at tennis tournaments

On February 28, 2022, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued recommendations to international sports federations to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in international tournaments, citing Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine as the reason.

Following the IOC’s recommendations in late February last year, the majority of global sports federations decided to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from all international sports tournaments.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) ruled on March 1, 2022 to suspend the membership of the Russian and Belarusian national tennis federations and also canceled all previously scheduled tennis tournaments in these countries.

On March 14, 2022 the ITF also confirmed its ban on the Russian and Belarusian national tennis teams from taking part in the 2022 Davis Cup and 2022 Billie Jean King Cup.

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) allowed tennis players from Russia and Belarus to continue participating in WTA and ATP tournaments, but under a neutral status.